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Consensus Guideline

Pleural Drains in Adults

Indications for pleural drains

  • Pneumothorax: tension pneumothorax (following emergency needle decompression), persistent or recurrent pneumothorax, large spontaneous pneumothorax, pneumothorax in any ventilated patient.
  • Pleural effusion: malignant, para-pneumonic or other non-malignant causes e.g. liver failure.
  • Traumatic haemothorax or pneumothorax.
  • Empyema or pyothorax (the approach to management of a pleural drain for treatment of empyema may vary).
  • Post-operative: thoracic, cardiac, oesophageal or spinal surgery.