Chest Drain Insertion: A practical guide

Authors: Sukhchain Bansal, Rebecca Zhao, Riad Hosein / Editor: Lauren Fraser / Reviewer: Ahmad Alabood / Codes: / Published: 13/05/2020 / Reviewed: 12/04/2024

*The mentor who helped with this when Riad was a registrar Mr Manjeet Riyat Consultant at Derby passed away from Covid 19 on 20/04/2020. The last video acknowledges his involvement.

This session will cover the practical aspects of safe insertion of chest drains using videos to provide guidance. We will cover both the Seldinger technique and the open approach to chest drain insertion.

Learning Objectives:

  • Indications
  • Preparations of patient equipment and staff
  • Insertion technique.
  • To be able to provide appropriate care after the insertion of a chest drain. 
  • To be able to recognise common pitfalls during insertion of a chest drain and appropriate ways to manage them.


  1. Hippocrates PP, Sivaramakrishnan K, Swanson KW, et al. Hippocrates Volume VI. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 1988: 39-43.
  2. Rapid Response Report: Risks of chest drain insertion Reference NPSA/2008/RRR03
  3. Chang SH, Kang YN, et al. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Comparing Pigtail Catheter and Chest Tube as the Initial Treatment for Pneumothorax. Chest. 2018 May;153(5):1201-1212.

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