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J Trauma. 2005 Jul;59(1):92-5.

How long should you wait for a chest radiograph after placing a chest tube on water seal? A prospective study.

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1
DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, Divisions of Trauma/Surgical Critical Care, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal time interval for identifying a pneumothorax (PTX) on chest radiograph (CXR) after placing a chest tube on water seal.

METHODS:

One hundred nineteen chest tubes were placed on water seal according to a prospective, observational study protocol. After water seal, both an early (3.1 +/- 2.1 hours) and a late (17.6 +/- 8.0 hours) CXR was obtained.

RESULTS:

Thirty-one patients had a PTX on follow-up CXRs. There were 22 early and 9 late PTXs identified. Three patients in the early group had a clinically significant PTX or an increase in the size of PTX on follow-up CXR. None of the patients in the late group had a clinically significant PTX (any worsening of their PTX) or required further intervention.

CONCLUSION:

A normal chest radiograph obtained 3 hours after placing a chest tube on water seal effectively excludes development of a clinically significant pneumothorax.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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