Analysis of tube thoracostomy performed by pulmonologists at a teaching hospital

Chest. 1997 Sep;112(3):709-13. doi: 10.1378/chest.112.3.709.


Study objective: To evaluate all tube thoracostomies (TTs) done by pulmonary/critical care fellows and attending physicians in the Medical University of South Carolina's health-care system documenting patient demographics, indication for placement, size and characteristics of the tube, and associated problems.

Design: Prospective.

Setting: University health-care system, including a university hospital, a Veterans Affairs hospital, and a county hospital.

Patients: All adult patients requiring consultation by a member of the pulmonary/critical care staff for a tube thoracostomy.

Results: One hundred twenty-six tube thoracostomies were performed over a 24-month period in 91 patients. The most common initial indication for a TT was pneumothorax (69/103, 67%). Overall mortality in the patient population was 35% (32/91). Early problems (< 24 hours following placement) occurred in 3% (4/126); late problems (> 24 h after placement) occurred in 8% (10/126). Problems occurred in 36% (4/11) of small-bore tube placements vs 9% (10/115) of standard TT placements (p=0.02).

Conclusions: Tube thoracostomy can be safely performed by pulmonologists with relatively few associated problems.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chest Tubes* / adverse effects
  • Critical Care
  • Demography
  • Equipment Design
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, County
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Hospitals, Veterans
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy
  • Pleural Effusion, Malignant / therapy
  • Pleurodesis
  • Pneumothorax / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Medicine* / education
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Safety
  • Survival Rate
  • Thoracostomy* / adverse effects
  • Thoracostomy* / instrumentation
  • Thoracostomy* / methods
  • Time Factors