Journal Mobile

AR Akram, TK Hartung
Journal Issue: 
Volume 39: Issue 2: 2009




Intercostal chest drains have been well established in the management of  pneumothorax  and  pleural  effusion,  and  explicit  guidelines  exist  for  the indications for inserting a chest drain. In May 2008 the UK’s National Patient Safety Agency  issued  a  rapid  response  report  entitled Risks  of  chest  drain  insertion, highlighting  significant  complications  directly  related  to  intercostal  chest  drain insertions. A  systematic  search  of  the  National  Reporting  and  Learning  System database for chest drain-associated patient safety incidents revealed 12 deaths and 15 cases of serious harm out of a total of 2,152 incidents between January 2005 and March 2008. In response to these alarming incidents the report called for six action points to be implemented by NHS hospitals and the independent sector by 17  November  2008. This  review  aims  to  summarise  the  National  Patient  Safety Agency  recommendations  and  provide  a  brief  review  of  the  literature  on  chest drain-related complications.