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Chest Tubes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A chest tube is also known as chest drain or chest drainage tube. It is a plastic tube that is put through the side of your chest. It uses a suction device to remove air, blood, or fluid from around your lungs or heart. A chest tube will help you breathe more easily.


DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine helps fight an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Deep breathe and cough:

Deep breathing helps open the air passages in your lungs. Coughing helps to bring up mucus from your lungs. You can deep breathe and cough on your own or with the help of an incentive spirometer.

  • Take a deep breath and hold it as long as you can. Then push the air out of your lungs with a deep, strong cough. Cough into a tissue and throw it away. Take 10 deep breaths in a row every hour that you are awake. Remember to follow each deep breath with a cough.
  • An incentive spirometer can help you take deeper breaths. Put the plastic piece into your mouth and take a steady, deep breath in. Hold your breath as long as you can, and then breathe out. Use your incentive spirometer 10 times every hour that you are awake.

Wound care:

Keep your bandage clean and dry. Ask your primary healthcare provider when you can bathe.

Contact your primary healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have severe pain and swelling at your wound area.
  • Your wound is red, draining pus, or has a bad smell coming from it.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood or fluid soaks through your bandage.
  • Your bandage comes off.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have shortness of breath.
  • You have chest pain. You may have more pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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