A Thoracic Catheter is a flexible plastic tube that is inserted through the chest wall and into the pleural space. It is used to remove air (pneumothorax) or fluid (pleural effusion, blood, chyle), or pus (empyema) from the intrathoracic space.
The location of the tube depends on what is being drained from the pleural cavity. If air is in the pleural space, the catheter tube will be inserted above the second intercostal space at the mid-clavicular line. If there is fluid in the pleural space, the chest tube is inserted at the fourth to fifth intercostal space, at the mid-axillary line. You can also navigate to https://www.centese.com/thoracic-surgery/ to know more about thoracic catheter chest tubes.
Common reasons why a chest tube is needed include:
Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)—This occurs when air has built up in the area around the lungs (the pleural space) from a leak in the lung. Chest tubes are often needed to remove air from around the lung. Failure to remove such air can be life-threatening if there is a lot of air or a continued leak. Removing the air allows the lung to re-expand and seal the leak.
Infection— An infection can sometimes cause fluid to build up around the lung and may be necessary to insert a chest tube to remove the fluid. Getting the fluid out can at times help clear the infection faster.
Hence, a pleural catheter is considered to be necessary for a person who has a continual buildup of pleural fluid due to chronic infection, cancer, or liver disease.