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Haemothorax after pig-tail catheter removal in a patient with primary spontaneous pneumothorax
  1. Demosthenes Makris,
  2. Medi Hatthabi,
  3. Arnaud Scherpereel,
  4. Jean-Jaques Lafitte,
  5. Charles-Hugo Marquette
  1. Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires, University Hospital of Lille, Lille, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D A Makris
 Clinique des Maladies Respiratoires, Hôpital Albert Calmette, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille, 59037 Lille Cedex1, France; appollon7{at}


A case of haemothorax is described which occured after the removal of a small pig-tail chest tube (8.5 F) that was inserted in the second intercostal space in the mid-clavicular line, for primary spontaneous pneumothorax management. The patient was successfully resuscitated and 0.85 l of blood was aspirated. There was no evidence for pre-existing haemothorax, no metal instrument was used and no precipitating factor was present. Thus, it is possible that bleeding was due to a tear of a vessel proximal to the second intercostal space during pig-tail catheter removal by a “grapple-hook” mechanism. Whether a pig-tail catheter in itself carries an additional risk of complications compared with other catheter types is questionable. However, this report highlights the potential danger that accompanies pig-tail drain insertion into the second intercostal space in the mid-clavicular line, and suggests that insertion in other sites is technically easy and potentially safer for pneumothorax drainage.

  • 21SMC, second intercostal space in the mid-clavicular line

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • DM is a recipient of the European Respiratory Society Fellowship No 444. Informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of their details.

  • Informed consent was obtained for publication of the person’s details in this report.