A chest tube is a small tube used to drain air or fluid from around your lung.
Some patients develop air (pneumothorax) or fluid (pleural effusion) around their lung. This can cause shortness of breath and/or pain because the lung cannot fully expand. A chest tube is placed in order to drain away the air or fluid.
The procedure is done in a hospital bed and takes approximately ½ hour. Patients are given sedation to make them comfortable while the tube is inserted in the side of the chest between the ribs. The tube is stitched in place and attached to a drainage container. Suction may also be applied to facilitate the drainage of the air or fluid.
There are low risks of bleeding and infection with this procedure.
The chest tube can cause mild to moderate discomfort. Pain medications are provided as needed.