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Is a small-bore catheter efficient for most pleural pathologies?

Surgery Today 2014 May
PURPOSE: Chest tubes are used for drainage of the pleural cavity. Traditionally, large-bore catheters are inserted for all indications, but there has been a recent tendency to use small-bore catheters. We share the results of our experience of using small-bore catheters for almost all indications routinely in our clinic.

METHODS: A collective total of 309 small-bore chest catheters (10 F) were inserted via the Seldinger technique in 287 patients during a 5-year-period. Malignant pleural effusion and pneumothorax were the most common indications for chest tube insertion.

RESULTS: The mean catheter duration was 5.6 days, being 5 days for pneumothorax and 6 days for malignant pleural effusion. Pleurodesis was performed effectively for malignant pleural effusions. In this series, the failure rate of small-bore catheters was 7.2 %.

CONCLUSION: Based on our clinical experience of using small-bore catheters, we believe that they are potentially effective for almost all pleural pathologies. Our results concur with those in the literature, but this series also includes different pleural diseases requiring chest tube insertion.

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