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Consensus Guideline

Pleural Drains in Adults


Clamping a pleural drain is contraindicated in any patient receiving positive pressure ventilation or NIV.

Pleural drains should only be clamped on medical orders in specific circumstances which include:

  • post pneumonectomy
  • during drainage of large volumes of fluid
  • in preparation for removal of large bore intercostal catheters
  • for short periods to drain collected fluid from drain system tubing
  • for change of bottle and /or tubing
  • to assess for air leaks
  • if is not possible to maintain the drainage system below the patient's chest e.g. moving a patient from bed to bed.