Underwater seal chest drains: the patient's experience

J Clin Nurs. 1997 May;6(3):215-25.


Chest drains are routinely inserted during thoracic surgery and to conservatively manage spontaneous pneumothorax. An extensive search of the literature revealed only a small number of highly prescriptive articles to advise the nurse on the specific care needs of this patient group. An exploratory study undertaken with 18 patients drew attention to the persistent discomfort and pain experienced by patients throughout the entire time that the chest drain remained in situ. Most of the patients also experienced short-lasting but intense pain when the chest drain was removed. Patients appeared ill-prepared for their experiences despite opportunities to obtain verbal and written information from staff.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Chest Tubes / adverse effects*
  • Drainage / adverse effects*
  • Drainage / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Pain / nursing
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic