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Practical Procedures
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Chest drain removal


Once the mattress sutures are in place, removal of the drain is straightforward.

Equipment
Method
Seldinger drains

 
 
  Equipment
 
  • Dressing pack
  • Sterile scissors
  • Sterile gauze
  • Chlorhexidine/iodine for cleaning

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  Method
   
 
  • Remove dressings from around the drain.
  • Clean the entire area with iodine or chlorhexidine.
  • Cut free the ties to the drain from side sutures, but do not untie the sutures holding the skin together.
  • Ask the patient to breathe in deeply and expire fully. Get your assistant to pull the drain out while you pull the central suture tightly closed.
  • Tie the suture. Clean and dress the area, using sterile gauze.
  • Repeat the chest x-ray.
  • Remove sutures at 1 week.

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  Seldinger drains
   
 

Newer drains, which are smaller and inserted like ascitic drains, are being introduced – especially for pneumothoraces – and are less traumatic for patients and doctors alike.

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