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J Thorac Dis. 2016 Feb;8(Suppl 1):S55-64. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.11.19.

Advances in chest drain management in thoracic disease.

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St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.


An adequate chest drainage system aims to drain fluid and air and restore the negative pleural pressure facilitating lung expansion. In thoracic surgery the post-operative use of the conventional underwater seal chest drainage system fulfills these requirements, however they allow great variability amongst practices. In addition they do not offer accurate data and they are often inconvenient to both patients and hospital staff. This article aims to simplify the myths surrounding the management of chest drains following chest surgery, review current experience and explore the advantages of modern digital chest drain systems and address their disease-specific use.


Chest tube; air leak; digital devices; intercostal drain (ICD); pleural effusion

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