Implication of pigtail catheter vs chest tube drainage

Alaa Elsayed, Rayan Alkhalifa, Muhannad Alodayni, Rakan Alanazi, Lara Alkhelaiwy, Mohammed Zalah, Ghufran Alnaeli, Tahani Alorabi, Maram Al-Qarni, Sarah Al-Otaibi


Pigtail catheters and chest tubes have long been used for drainage of pleural collections for many years. In thoracic surgery, each technique is preferred in certain conditions. Pigtail catheters have the advantages of being smaller in size, more flexible, less traumatic, easier in insertion, and are associated with lower complication rates. They are particularly effective in draining non-viscid and non-coagulable fluids. The main disadvantages are their ineffectiveness in draining thick fluids, their higher liability to clogging, kinking, and obstruction. Chest tubes, on the other hand, have larger diameters allowing faster and more efficacious drainage of thick fluids and hemothorax. However, they are more painful, more distorting to tissues, and have higher complications rates. The aim of this article is to provide a review on both systems, and to compare the reported safety, efficacy, and complications of each.


Drainage, Chest tube, Pig tail

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