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Flashcards in Chest Tubes Deck (35)
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What is Boyle's law?

When the volume of a container increases, the pressure decreases.
When the volume of a container decreases, the pressure increases.


What are indications for chest tube placement?

Pleural effusion
Pleurodesis of recurrent malignant effusions


What are three treatment goals for pleural conditions?

Remove fluid & air as promptly as possible

Prevent drained air & fluid from returning to the pleural space

Restore negative pressure in the pleural space to re-expand the lung


How does a drainage device help to prevent air and fluid from returning to the pleural space?

Chest tube is attached to a drainage device

Allows air and fluid to leave the chest

Contains a one-way valve to prevent air & fluid returning to the chest

Designed so that the device is below the level of the chest tube for gravity drainage


How does a chest drainage system work? (Gravity vs. suction)

Expiratory positive pressure from the patient helps push air and fluid out of the chest (cough, Valsalva)
Gravity helps fluid drainage as long as the chest drainage system is below the level of the chest
Suction can improve the speed at which air and fluid are pulled from the chest


What is a Pleur-evac?

A chest drainage system.

Disposable unit
Needle-less system
Can be connected to suction or left open to gravity

Consists of:
1. Collection Chamber
2. Water Seal Chamber
3. Suction Control Chamber


Where is the suction control level indicator located?

-upper left side of the pleur-evac unit
-turn the dial to the desired suction level line -10, -15,-20, -30,-40 cm of H2O


How do you adjust the suction level on a pleur-evac?

-When connected to suction, increase the amount of wall suction until the orange float appears in the window (usually about 80-100 cm H2O of wall suction)


Which determines the level of suction, the setting on the suction unit (pleur-evac) or the wall suction?

The setting of the suction unit determines the approximate amount of suction “regardless” of the amount of WALL suction


What is the purpose of the water seal chamber?

To allow air to exit from the pleural space on exhalation and prevent air from entering the pleural cavity or mediastinum on inhalation


How should you add water to the water seal chamber on a pleur-evac?

Use the provided funnel to fill the water seal chamber to the 2cm water level with:


What is the purpose of the patient air leak meter on the pleur-evac?

Indicates the approximate degree of air leak from the chest cavity


What action should be taken regarding air leaks?

Observe bubbling in the columns of the patient air leak meter
The meter is labeled from LOW (1) to HIGH (7)
The higher the numbered column which bubbling appears, the greater the degree of air leak.


What is the purpose of the positive pressure relief valve?

Opens with increases in positive pressure, preventing pressure accumulation


What is one thing to be cautious of with the positive pressure relief valve?

Do not obstruct the positive pressure relief valve


What is the purpose of the high negativity float valve on a pleur-evac?

Preserves the water seal in the presence of high negativity. Used to reduce negativity.


How does the high negativity float valve work?

water floats the valve up into the closed position when excessive negativity occurs
Valve opens upon decrease in negativity


What is one thing to be cautions of when using the high negativity float valve?

If suction is not operative while depressing this valve, negative pressure may be reduced to zero (atmosphere) and may result in a pneumothorax


What is the purpose of the collection chamber of a pleur-evac?

To collect drainage


How does the collection chamber on a pleur-evac work?

The collection chamber is callibrated up to 2500cc
Fluids overflow from one section to the next
Total capacity of the chamber is 2500cc


When should a pleur-evac be clamped?

Changing a pleur-evac
Assessing for system leak/ air leak
After pleurodesis for malignant effusions/ sclerosis
Prior to the removal of the chest tube with a physician order


What should be done prior to insertion of a chest tube?

Obtain informed consent
Complete Baseline vital signs (HR, RR, BP, Sp02)
Complete respiratory assessment
Gather equipment if procedure is done at bedside


What equipment is necessary to bring to the bedside prior to inserting a chest tube?

Thoracotomy tray
Chest tube
Dressing material (mepore, drain sponge)


What should be done after insertion of a chest tube?

Prepare patient for chest x-ray
Vital Signs (HR, RR, BP, Sp02) – see agency policy for frequency
Respiratory assessment
Palpate around site for subcutaneous air
Note drainage amount, colour, type
Note the presence of bubbling in the water seal chamber
Have two padded clamps at bedside
250-500ml bottle of sterile water


When should assessments be done for a patient with a chest tube?

At the start of shift and every four hours (or more frequently depending on findings and agency policy)


What assessments need to be done for patients with a chest tube?

Respiratory assessment
Vital signs
Presence of chest pain
Trachea position
Chest tube dressing intact and
Presence of subcutaneous emphysema


How should the chest drainage system be assessed?

System below level of patient’s chest
Tube free of kinks, or external obstruction and coiled on patients bed
All connections secured
Color and amount of drainage – should be marked at start of shift and according to policy
Fluctuation of fluid level in water-seal chamber
Constant bubbling in water-seal chamber (if pneumo or suction present)
Float in appropriate location indicating appropriate suction


What should you do if the chest tube falls out?

Stay with the patient
Monitor vital signs and respiratory status


If the chest tube falls out and there is an air leak present (or you are unsure whether there is an air leak), what should you do?

Cover with gauze dressing and tape on 3 sides
Occasionally on exhalation, gently lift open side to allow air to exit intra-pleural space


If the chest tube falls out and there is no air leak present, what should you do?

Cover site with occlusive dressing and secure