PleurX Catheter

A pleurX catheter is a semi permanent plastic tube which is placed through the skin into the pleural space to facilitate repeated drainages of pleural fluid (pleural effusion). This is usually placed in the event of malignancy related effusions but in select cases can be used as a treatment for refractory effusions of other causes. The pleurX catheter can be placed in the operating suite or bronchoscopy suite but is usually done only under local anesthesia. First the effusion is located with ultrasound guidance. Then the skin is completely numbed with lidocaine injections. A small incision is made in the skin and the catheter is inserted into the pleural space and fluid. The tube is secured by “tunneling” in the skin and suturing. After the procedure, the patient may resume normal activity but we ask that the bandages only be removed during draining and replaced immediately after. We will give you a schedule of how often to drain, but most start out with daily drainages. The catheter will need to be looked at by one of our doctors from time to time, assessing for infections and proper placement.