Intercostal Catheter Insertion: are we really doing well?

Department of Traumatology, Division of Surgery, John Hunter Hospital and University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia.
ANZ Journal of Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.12). 05/2012; 82(6):392-4. DOI: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2012.06093.x
Source: PubMed


  Intercostal catheters (ICC) are the standard management of chest trauma, but are associated with complications in up to 30%. The aim of this study was to evaluate errors in technique during ICC insertion to characterize the potential benefit of improved training programmes.
  Prospective audit of all ICC in trauma patients at a level 1 trauma centre for over 12 months. Exclusions were pigtail catheters and ICC inserted during thoracic surgery. Errors were identified from patient examination and chest imaging; they were defined as insertional, positional, incorrect size (<28 French) and lack of antibiotic prophylaxis. Ongoing complications unrelated to an error in technique, for example blocked tube, were not analysed.
  Fifty-seven patients received a total of 94 ICC during the study period. Patients were predominantly male (77%), mean age of 40 ± 20 years, mean injury severity score 27 ± 13, mean abbreviated injury scale chest 3.8 ± 0.72. 86% were blunt trauma and 14% penetrating chest injuries. Thirty-six errors in technique occurred in 33 ICC insertions (38%). The most common errors were absence of prophylactic antibiotics (13%), ICC too far out (9%), kinked (6%) and wrong-sized ICC (5%). Emergency had a significantly greater frequency of errors than other specialties (67%, relative risk 2.11, P= 0.002). The majority of ICC were inserted by registrars, and registrars made a greater number of errors than fellows or consultants (relative risk 2.00, P= 0.02).
  This study identified a large number of preventable errors for ICC insertion in trauma patients. Standardized institutional credentialing systems may be required to ensure adequate proficiency of trainees performing this procedure.


Available from: Natalie Enninghorst
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    • "Insertion of an ICD is a potentially hazardous procedure and is associated with potentially significant morbidity which is often under-appreciated [6]. International literature reports a complication rate that varies from 10 to 30 per cent [2] [3] [4] [5] [6], and there are numerous individual case reports of iatrogenic injuries to most organs located within the trunk [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Iatrogenic visceral injuries (IVI) secondary to the insertion of an intercostal chest drain (ICD) are well documented, but are usually confined to case reports and small series. Materials and methods: We reviewed our experience with 53 consecutive patients over a insertion seven year period who sustained an IVI secondary to an ICD and describe the spectrum of injuries and clinical outcome in a high volume trauma service in South Africa. Results: A total of 53 ICDs were inserted in 53 patients, 83% (44/53) of which were on the left side, and 17% (9/53) on the right side. 92% (49/53) of the patients were males and the mean age for all patients was 24 (±8) years. 85% of the patients were referred from rural hospitals, the remaining 15% were treated initially at our institution. A trocar was used in 75% (40/53) of patients and in 9% (5/53), a trocar was not used, 58 organ injuries occurred in 53 patients. 92% (49/53) of patients sustained a single organ injury and 4 sustained multiple injuries. The three most common injuries were: diaphragm (36%, 21/53), gastric (22%, 13/53), and pulmonary (12%, 7/53). Other injuries were: 6 (10%) spleen, 4 (7%) liver, 2 (3%) colon and 1 (2%) kidney. Three (5%) sustained an injury to the intercostal artery and one (2%) sustained a pulmonary artery injury. 39 patients (74%) required operative interventions which included laparoscopy: 20 (51%), laparotomy: 8 (21%), thoracotomy: 8 (21%), VAT: 3 (8%). A total of 28 patients (53%) developed further complications: 13 wound sepsis, 7 pneumonia, 6 empyema, 2 ARDS. and 15% (8/53) required intensive care admission. The mean length of hospital stay was 7 (±4) days. Conclusions: IVI is associated with significant morbidity, with diaphragmatic, gastric and pulmonary injuries being the most common. The majority were inserted in the rural hospitals and were associated with use of a trochar, Level of evidence: III, Study type: Retrospective study.
    Injury 09/2014; 45(9). DOI:10.1016/j.injury.2014.05.013 · 2.14 Impact Factor

  • ANZ Journal of Surgery 11/2012; 82(11):858. DOI:10.1111/j.1445-2197.2012.06261.x · 1.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Routine chest radiograph (CXR) following tube thoracostomy (TT) is a standard practice in most trauma centres worldwide. Evidence supporting this routine practice is lacking and the actual yield is unknown. Materials and Methods We performed a retrospective review of 1042 patients over a four-year period who had a routine post-insertion CXR performed in accordance to current ATLS® recommendation. Results A total 1042 TTs were performed on 1004 patients. Ninety-one per cent (913/1004) were males, and the median age for all patients was 24 years. Seventy-five percent of all injuries (756/1004) were resulted from penetrating trauma, and the remaining 25% (248/1004) were blunt. The initial pathologies requiring TT were: hemopneumothorax: 34% (339/1042), hemothroax: 31% (314/1042), simple pneumothorax: 25% (256/1042), tension pneumothorax: 8% (77/1042) and open pneumothorax: 5% (54/1042). One hundred and three patients had TTs performed on clinical grounds without a pre-insertion CXR [Group A]. One hundred and ninety-one patients had a pre-insertion CXR but had persistent clinical concerns following insertion [Group B]. Seven hundred and ten patients had pre-insertion CXR but no clinical concerns following insertion [Group C]. Overall, fifteen per cent (152/1004) [9 from Group A, 111 from Group B and 32 from Group C] of all patients had their clinical management influenced as a direct result of the post-insertion CXR. Conclusions Despite the widely accepted practice of routine CXR following tube thoracostomy, the yield is relatively low. In many cases, good clinical examination post tube insertion will provide warnings as to whether problems are likely to result. However, in the more rural setting, and in resource challenged environments, there is a relatively high yield from the CXR, which resulted in altered management. Further prospective studies are needed to establish or refute the role of the existing ATLS® practice in these specific environments.
    Injury 12/2014; 46(1). DOI:10.1016/j.injury.2014.06.015 · 2.14 Impact Factor
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