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Does it matter whether a chest drain is aimed upwards or downwards for the optimum drainage of fluid or air from the pleural cavity?

Report by: John Trenfield, SpR Emergency Medicine

Search checked by: Ian Maconochie, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine

Institution: St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London, UK

Three-part question

In [a patient presenting with a pleural effusion that requires draining] should [the chest drain be inserted apically or basally] to [drain most efficiently]?

Clinical scenario

A patient presents to the emergency department with significant dyspnoea. A chest x-ray reveals a pleural effusion. Should the chest drain be aimed apically or basally to drain efficiently?

Search strategy

Medline 1966-03/04 …

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  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.