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Consensus Guideline

Pleural Drains in Adults


The Pleural Drains in Adults - Consensus Guideline has been developed by respiratory clinicians with the aim to support clinicians and facility managers to provide a safe standard of care that aims to ensure that optimal patient outcomes are achieved irrespective of where a patient with a pleural drain is being managed within an acute hospital facility.

The insertion of a pleural drain and the ongoing care of patients with a pleural drain in situ carries the potential for significant morbidity and mortality especially when insertion does not proceed as expected or complications occur.

The procedure of inserting a pleural drain into the pleural cavity to drain air or fluid may be performed as a life-saving emergency procedure, as a planned procedure post surgery or as part of the medical management of patients with pleural disease.

Over recent decades this has led to an expanded number of health care professionals from multiple specialties who may be required to insert a pleural drain and provide ongoing care of adult patients with a pleural drain within a variety of settings across acute facilities.

To ensure optimal outcomes for patients with a pleural drain, care needs to be provided by appropriately skilled staff who maintain close vigilance of the patient, pleural drain and under water drainage system and implement appropriate action in the event that complications arise.

The care processes and strategies described in the consensus guideline are available for NSW local health districts to incorporate into local pleural drain protocols or procedure documents.