Pigtail tube drainage in the treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax

Am J Emerg Med. 2003 May;21(3):241-4. doi: 10.1016/s0735-6757(02)42247-4.


We report our experience in using pigtail tube drainage in the treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax compared with traditional chest tube thoracotomy. One hundred two patients were included and analyzed. Fifty patients were treated with the pigtail tube and 52 patients were treated with the traditional chest tube. The extubation time, mean hospital stay, evacuation rate, and total cost were similar without a significant statistical difference. Among the chest tube group, 15 underwent surgical intervention as a result of delayed resolution and hemopneumothorax; and among the pigtail group, 15 had other procedures for pneumothorax, including chest tube insertion and surgical intervention. This verifies our initial suspicion that the effectiveness of the pigtail drainage system is no less than that of the chest tube. Therefore, when considering ambulatory ability and good patient compliance, the pigtail tube drainage system can be considered as the treatment of choice for spontaneous pneumothorax.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chest Tubes / economics
  • Drainage / economics
  • Drainage / instrumentation
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / surgery*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome