Send to

Choose Destination
Anesthesiology. 2007 Jun;106(6):1112-9.

Incidence of chest tube malposition in the critically ill: a prospective computed tomography study.

Author information

Service de Radiologie Polyvalente Diagnostique et Interventionnelle, La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Tours, France.



Malposition of percutaneously inserted chest tubes is considered as a rare complication in critically ill patients. Its incidence, however, remains uncertain. The aims of the study were to assess the true incidence of chest tube malposition in critically ill patients and to identify predicting factors.


The authors prospectively studied 122 chest tubes percutaneously inserted in 75 consecutive critically ill patients. For clinical reasons independent of the study, thoracic computed tomography scanning was performed in 63 patients, allowing direct visualization of 106 chest tubes. Based on these findings, chest tube position was classified as intrapleural, intrafissural, or intraparenchymal. Factors predicting chest tube malposition were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analysis.


The mean delay between chest tube placement and thoracic scan was 3.5+/-2.9 days. Twenty-two chest tubes were diagnosed as being intrafissural (21%), and 10 were diagnosed as being intraparenchymal (9%). The only predicting factor associated with the risk of malposition was the use of a trocar for the percutaneous insertion of the chest tube (P=0.032).


Malposition was detected in 30% of percutaneously inserted chest tubes, a higher incidence than previously reported. Avoiding the use of a trocar may reduce significantly the incidence of chest tube malposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center