Outpatient chest tube management
The pleural space is an air-tight closed space with a sub-atmospheric inside pressure variable during the breathing cycle. Also, the pleural cavity contains a small amount of pleural fluid that as a lubricant ensures lung coupling to the chest wall. This system is under a constant dynamic equilibrium not simple to control after a lung major resection: a chest drainage system has to guarantee an adequate drains of fluid and air allowing a complete lung expansion. Excessive fluid drainage or air leak will prevent timely hospital discharge after thoracic surgery, increasing length of stay (LOS) and the healthcare costs. In the era of “fast track surgery” to standardize an outpatient chest tube management is necessary. This review tries to reach a conclusion by comparing all recent studies reporting a management of chest drains following thoracic surgery. We will explore through this article the tips and tricks to register the best outcomes dealing with an outpatient pleural drainage.