Indwelling pleural catheters are frequently used for the treatment of malignant pleural effusion. The PleurX catheter (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is a commonly used indwelling pleural catheter across Canada. The traditional PleurX catheter is designed with a long segment of tubing outside of the patient’s chest, making insertion, drainage, and dressing changes awkward. Our clinic developed a novel, shortened, PleurX catheter that is easier to handle.
We conducted retrospective chart review for all patients treated with a shortened PleurX catheter at our center from December 2015 to May 2019 and demographics, clinical information, and complications were recorded retrospectively. A survey was designed and distributed to nurses experienced with the use of both catheters to elicit a preference between the short and long catheter.
We analyzed data from 503 catheters placed in 491 patients. The most frequently encountered complications were loculation requiring fibrinolytic (2.4%), catheter dislodgement (1.2%), and pleural infection (0.6%). Of nurses surveyed, 74% preferred using the shortened PleurX catheter.
Complication rates of the novel, shortened PleurX catheter are low. Further research is needed to better determine the optimal catheter length for ambulatory management of malignant pleural effusion.