Pigtail catheters used for percutaneous fluid drainage: comparison of performance characteristics

Radiology. 2006 Mar;238(3):1057-63. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2383050578.


Purpose: To compare the performance characteristics of various single-lumen all-purpose pigtail drainage catheters.

Materials and methods: The following parameters were compared: flow rates between catheters of the same size, whether changing the fluid viscosity has any effect on catheter comparisons, the effect on flow of leaving an open three-way stopcock in the drainage pathway, the tendency of the catheters to kink, and catheter patency after kinking, as measured according to flow. All-purpose 8.0-, 8.3-, and 8.5-F (collectively referred to as 8-F); 10.0-, 10.2-, and 10.3-F (collectively referred to as 10-F); and 12.0-F pigtail drainage catheters from three manufacturers were evaluated. Data were compared by using two-tailed t tests after normal distributions were confirmed. P < .05 was considered to represent a significant difference.

Results: At comparison of the 8-F catheters, the C.R. Bard catheters demonstrated better flow rates than the Cook and Boston Scientific devices. Among the 10-F catheters, there were no significant differences in the flow rates of fluid with viscosity equivalent to that of water between the C.R. Bard and Boston Scientific catheters; however, both these catheter types demonstrated significantly (P < .05) better flow rates than the Cook devices. Among the 12-F catheters, the C.R. Bard catheters demonstrated significantly (P < .05) better flow rates than the other two catheter types. Changing the fluid viscosity caused no changes in comparison results. In all catheter groups, the presence of a stopcock significantly (P < .05) impaired flow. None of the evaluated catheters demonstrated a clear advantage in terms of patency or susceptibility to kinking.

Conclusion: At comparison of the in vitro performances of catheters from different manufacturers, the C.R. Bard 8.0-F and Cook 10.2-F catheters had comparable flow rates, and flow rates through the C.R. Bard and Boston Scientific 10.0-F catheters were comparable to flow rates through the Cook and Boston Scientific 12.0-F catheters. Varying viscosity had no effect on comparisons of catheter flow rates; however, a stopcock between the vacuum source and the catheter was noted to impair flow rates in all brands and sizes of evaluated catheters.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization*
  • Drainage / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Rheology