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Pleural effusions and chest tubes....

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Guest bean_si (Not Active)

I haven't had experience with chest tubes. I tried to do a search on Copernic but only found such unhelpful info as they are in "as long as needed to drain pleural effusion."


I also found this. This seems to say there are two types - 1 that is managed on an outpatient or inpatient by medical personnel and the other can be left in for months and is drained by patient.

http://www.spectrummedicalgroup.com/pre ... leaseID=16

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People with cancer, esp. after radiation, sometimes need chest tubes for prolonged periods of time to drain fluid or keep the lung expanded. The tissue heals slowly because of the cancer and the treatment, so sometimes there remains an "air leak" - and the tube cannot be removed until the air leak is gone, or the lung would collapse. Whether the problem is continued fluid drainage or an air leak, the tube can be painful in itself, and it certainly complicates things like dressing and bathing.

You didn't say if Robert is at home or in the hospital. If they expect he will need the tube much longer, a nerve block or intrapleural anesthetic given through the tube may be helpful.

Good luck to you and Robert, Joni. - Teresa

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So sorry to hear that the talc procedure didn't work for Robert. Steve was in the hospital for 9 days with a chest tube on a vacuum device while the surgeon waited for the lung to be dry enough for the talc. Finally, although it was still a bit over the limit, he did the procedure and it has seemed to do the trick. The chest tube was not easy, particularly on insertion and removal, but the relief was so great (and he certainly did not want any more thoracentesis - 2x) that he is glad he did it. Steve was also on a morphine drip the whole time the tube was in so that lessened his discomfort. He hadn't been able to lie down for weeks because of the pleural effusion (over 6 liters of fluid totally collapsed the left lung and was pushing on his heart and right lung). After the pleuradesis, he was finally able to go to bed. Hope the doctor can find some way to make the procedure work for Robert.

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