Reducing morbidity from insertion of chest drains

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7103.313 (Published 02 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:313

Clamping may be appropriate to prevent discomfort and reduce risk of oedema

  1. Marcia Hall, Senior registrar in medical oncologya,
  2. Alison Jones, Consultant in medical oncologya
  1. a Royal Free Hospital, London NW3 2QG
  2. b Glenfield Hospital, Leicester LE3 9QP

    Editor—Jonathan Hyde and colleagues' description of the insertion of chest drains was both clear and helpful.1 The authors state, however, that there is no definite indication for clamping a chest drain.

    In our oncology practice most drains are inserted to drain pleural effusions. Large pleural effusions drain rapidly, and most patients experience considerable discomfort, with chest tightness and coughing. In addition, removing a large collection of either air or fluid from the pleural cavity carries a recognised risk of inducing pulmonary oedema, which has been reported as occasionally fatal.2 3 4 The …

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