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Why Do You Need Chest Tube?

A chest tube help to drain air, blood, or fluid from the space surrounding your lungs, called the pleural space. Chest tube insertion is also referred to as chest tube thoracostomy. It’s typically an emergency procedure. It may also be done after surgery on organs or tissues in your chest cavity.

During chest tube insertion, a hollow plastic tube is inserted between your ribs into the pleural space. The tube may be connected to a machine to help with the drainage. The tube will stay in place until the fluid, blood, or air is drained from your chest. You can also refer to to know more about the chest drainage system.

You generally need a chest tube if you have any of the following health issues:

  • a collapsed lung

  • a lung infection

  • bleeding around your lung, especially after a trauma (such as a car accident)

  • fluid buildup due to another medical condition, such as cancer or pneumonia

  • breathing difficulty due to a buildup of fluid or air

  • surgery, especially lung, heart, or esophageal surgery

Inserting a chest tube may also help your doctor diagnose other conditions, such as lung damage or internal injuries after trauma.

Hence, chest tube insertion is most commonly performed after surgery or as an emergency procedure, so there’s usually no way for you to prepare for it. Your doctor will ask for your consent to perform the procedure if you’re conscious.