Table of Contents
ISRN Pulmonology
Volume 2012, Article ID 143295, 6 pages
Research Article

Pigtail Catheter Use for Draining Pleural Effusions of Various Etiologies

1Chest Department, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta 33633, Egypt
2Internal Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt

Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 31 October 2011

Academic Editor: L. Molinos

Copyright © 2012 Adel Salah Bediwy and Hesham Galal Amer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Use of small-bore pigtail catheter is a less invasive way for draining pleural effusions than chest tube thoracostomy. Methods. Prospectively, we evaluated efficacy and safety of pigtail catheter (8.5–14 French) insertion in 51 cases of pleural effusion of various etiologies. Malignant effusion cases had pleurodesis done through the catheter. Results. Duration of drainage of pleural fluid was 3–14 days. Complications included pain (23 patients), pneumothorax (10 patients), catheter blockage (two patients), and infection (one patient). Overall success rate was 82.35% (85.71% for transudative, 83.33% for tuberculous, 81.81% for malignant, and 80% for parapneumonic effusion). Nine cases had procedure failure, five due to loculated effusions, and four due to rapid reaccumulation of fluid after catheter removal. Only two empyema cases (out of six) had a successful procedure. Conclusion. Pigtail catheter insertion is an effective and safe method of draining pleural fluid. We encourage its use for all cases of pleural effusion requiring chest drain except for empyema and other loculated effusions that yielded low success rate.