Background: Chest tube drainage under radiological guidance has been used with increasing frequency as a treatment option for pleural effusions and pneumothoraxes.
Objective: To evaluate the safety and usefulness of pleural drainage under radiological guidance for pleural effusion and pneumothorax in a tertiary care university teaching hospital.
Methods: A retrospective study of cases of chest tube placement under radiological guidance over a 12-month period in a university hospital.
Results: Fifty-one percutaneous pigtail catheter drainage cases were reviewed (30 patients). Forty-six (90%) chest tubes were inserted as a first-line treatment. The overall success rate of radiological drainage was 88%. Specific success rates were 92%, 85% and 91% for loculated pleural effusion, pneumothorax and empyema, respectively. The complications were few and minor.
Conclusions: Pigtail catheter insertion under radiological guidance is a useful procedure for the treatment of sterile pleural effusion, empyema and pneumothorax. This technique can be used as a first-line procedure in the majority of cases.