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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2006 Oct;30(4):649-51. Epub 2006 Aug 28.

A single 24F Blake drain after wedge resection or lobectomy: a study on 100 consecutive cases.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardio-Vascular Surgery, CHRU de Caen, Côte de Nacre, 14033 Caen Cedex, France.



To evaluate the results of chest drainage using one 24F Blake drain after standard thoracic operations (wedge resection and lobectomy).


In 2005, 100 consecutive patients underwent drainage of their pleural cavity following lobectomy or wedge resection(s). There were 70 men and 30 women, with a mean age of 55 years (17-83). There were 47 lobectomies (23 upper, 5 middle, 19 lower), 3 bilobectomies (2 right upper and middle, 1 right lower and middle), and 2 anatomical segmentectomies. All these anatomical resections were performed by standard thoracotomy, mainly for cancer diseases (45 cases). Furthermore, 48 atypical resections by single or multiple wedge(s) were realized, 20 of them by VATS. They included 14 various benign diseases, 16 malignant diseases, 8 significant emphysema bullous, and 10 blebs. Chest X rays were performed regularly in the postoperative period to detect residual pleural effusion or pneumothorax necessitating additional drainage or reoperation. Patients were controlled one month after discharge.


One patient with pleural carcinosis died of pulmonary embolus on day 8. Neither replacement of chest tube nor reoperation was necessary for pleural space problems. Median duration of drainage was 5 days (3-15), 6 days after lobectomy and 4 days after wedge resection. In 15 cases, the duration of drainage was more than 8 days: 11 persistent air leaks and 4 drainages exceeding 150-200 cm3 daily. Ninety percent of patients were discharged the day following the drain removal.


Postoperative courses after standard thoracic procedures using a single 24F Blake drainage appear similar to that accounting after a classical semi-rigid drainage. Such single drainage may appear now as an acceptable option. The flexible quality of the drain, its reduced caliber, and the character unique of the drainage, may contribute to improve comfort of the operated patients.

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