Tube thoracostomy (TT) placement belongs among the most commonly performed procedures. Despite many benefits of TT drainage, potential for significant morbidity and mortality exists. Abdominal or thoracic injury, fistula formation and vascular trauma are among the most serious, but more common complications such as recurrent pneumothorax, insertion site infection and nonfunctioning or malpositioned TT also represent a significant source of morbidity and treatment cost. Awareness of potential complications and familiarity with associated preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategies are fundamental to satisfactory patient outcomes. This review focuses on chest tube complications and related topics, with emphasis on prevention and problem-oriented approaches to diagnosis and treatment. The authors hope that this manuscript will serve as a valuable foundation for those who wish to become adept at the management of chest tubes.
Keywords: Chest tube; complications; diagnosis; prevention; review; thoracostomy tube; treatment.