Complications of Tube Thoracostomy- How Well Are We Training our junior Doctors?

Muhammad Kaleem, Muhammad Farooq, Muhammad Sohail Ahmad


Objective:   This study aims to explore the common causative factors of dysfunctional closed chest drainage unit, their relative frequency and to give recommendations for its prevention.

Study Design:

Retrospective study

Place and Duration of study:

Department of Thoracic surgery, Nishter Medical University, Multan, between February 2015 and January 2017


139 patients were included in whom tube thoracostomy had been performed but it had failed in draining the pleural collection. Detailed history and thorough physical examination were carried out, Chest x-ray and where necessary chest CT scan were done to evaluate placement of chest tube and to work out the causative factor of dysfunctional closed chest drainage unit.


Out of the 139 study cases, 36(25.9%) were females while 103(74.1%) were male patients. Mean age of our study cases was 37.2 ±14.5 years (minimum age was 12 while maximum age was 65 years). A wrong connection of CDU was the most common cause of dysfunctional closed CDU. It was found in 24 cases (17.3%).Where as inadequate prime fluid, loose connections, kinked tubes; over full bottles were the other common problems.


Dysfunctional closed chest drainage unit is a common but serious clinical problem which results in significant rise in morbidity, prolonged hospital stay and economic burden. It can be prevented by adopting proper protocol of tube thoracostomy.

Keywords: Dysfunctional chest drainage unit, Faulty chest tubes, Non-functioning tube thoracostomy, Failure of chest drainage system.


Chest drainage unit-CDU, tube thoracostomy-TT

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