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Pleural Catheter

Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Ladies,

Have any of you had a pleural cathetet inserted to drain your lungs? I had my lungs drained two weeks ago because I had a large amount of fluid buildup. Within 2 days I was back in bed unable to walk around my house without being out of breath. My dr. scheduled to have a catheter inserted so I could drain at any time. This was done on Friday. First of all the dr. performing the procedure must have had bad morning he was very arrogant and got upset when the equipment didn't work right ane the drain didn't go in like it was suppost to. For a procedure that was not suppost to hurt it made me cry on the table. The nurse was very good about showing us a video of how to drain but couldn't tell how often to drain because my primary dr. needed to do this. While I was resting in the hotel, my husband went to his office to see how often we should drain. He didn't get to see anyone in person, just talked to my case coordinater on the phone. She said just do it how ever often I needed to. This really helped answer the question. We were in Houston and there was snow starting to fall which doesn't occur very often and I think everyone was just wanting to go home. We came home and followed the brouchure instructions to drain. I began draining very fast and all of a sudden I began coughing and had trouble breathing. We stopped the drain - took out 700 ml., it took me about 30 minutes to stop coughing and calm down enough to rest. Today my chest still hurts. Did we drain it too fast? Have any of you done this procedure? Any tips you could give me? I've been away from work for 2 weeks and thought this would give me immediate relief but I still feel tired and unable to take a deep breath.

Please Help!


Posts: 163
Joined: Aug 2005

Hello Deb,

I have never experienced anything like you describe, but feel so badly for all of what you have been through. I hope that others here on the board can help. Hang in there and take good care....MM

saundra's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

I always "google" what ever question I am trying to answer. I tried "pleural catheter" and there is a lot to read on the subject. More and more we seem to have to take our medical care into our own hands. I would drain more slowly. Perhaps the rapid change in the amount of fluid made you cough. Saundra

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

My heart goes out to you in what you have had to suffer. I am in the UK and had exactly the same as you. I remember it being extremely distressing as at one point I could not lie down so could not sleep - I was very frightened.

Both of my lungs were full of fluid as a result of PPC (which I didn't know I'd got until they tested the fluid that was drained off) However I was fortunate because I stayed in hospital throughout the whole procedure and recovery. Eventhough my "lung" doctor was lovely I was quite terrified. I actually had a chest drain inserted inbetween the 2 pleural membranes which was done under a local anaesthetic and I was nursed very closely afterwards. I remember vividly that first cough and a feeling of sheer panic as you feel you can't breath and you will never stop coughing. I was told this was the lungs reaction to being able to breath normally again and in making you cough your lung will inflate properly and work again. Yes you are right about it draining too fast because I heard my doctor tell the nurse to switch it off after a certain amount had drained and to only turn it back on again the next day. It is a shock to your body as you may have had the fluid for some time.

Because I had fluid in both lungs I ended up having 3 chest drains (in different lungs) before my chemo kicked in and killed the cells in there so it would drain naturally. So you may need to undergo this again in the future. Is there any chance you can remain in hospital under medical care? I'm not sure if this was something your doctor talked to you about but on my last procedure I had some medical talc put in after the fluid was drained. This is fantastic at preventing it all coming back.

Do keep in touch and I really hope things go alright for you.

Tina x

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Just read your last paragraph:

1. You will be tired for a while afterwards as I said before your body has had the fluid for some time so it needs to recover. Also you have undergone a traumatic procedure so be kind to yourself and rest as much as you can.

2. It will take 1 - 2 weeks for you to recover. I expected to be up and running around like I was months ago and just did not happen. So be patient - your body will recover if you rest properly.

take care Tina

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