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

ABSTRACT   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, Jun 10, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To determine whether ED doctors, comprising both consultants and registrars, can accurately identify the 4th or 5th intercostal space (ICS), commonly used for intercostal catheter insertion.Methods An observational study was designed using a sample of ED doctors applying their clinical skills to a convenience sample of patients reflecting a heterogeneous mix of ED patients. Patients already receiving a CXR in our ED were examined by a registrar or consultant who placed a radiopaque marker on the patients' chest wall over the site they determined to be the 4th or 5th ICS. Consultant radiologists reported the marker's position from postero-anterior projection CXRs, and results were analysed comparing consultants with registrars, right to left hemithoraces and male to female patients.ResultsED doctors participating in the present study placed the marker over the 4th or 5th ICS 36.2% of the time, with no significant difference between consultant and registrar groups, nor right or left hemithoraces. Accuracy was improved in female patients compared with male patients.Conclusion Emergency registrars and consultants sampled from a regional ED appeared unable to reliably identify the 4th or 5th ICS, as evidenced by marker position, in a heterogeneous patient population.
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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.
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Intercostal chest drain (ICD) insertion is a commonly performed procedure in trauma and may be associated with significant morbidity. Methods: This was a retrospective review of ICD complications in a major trauma service in South Africa over a four-year period from January 2010 to December 2013. Results: A total of 1,050 ICDs were inserted in 1,006 patients, of which 91% were male. The median patient age was 24 years (interquartile range [IQR]: 20‐29 years). There were 962 patients with unilateral ICDs and 44 with bilateral ICDs. Seventy-five per cent (758/1,006) sustained penetrating trauma and the remaining 25% (248/1006) sustained blunt trauma. Indications for ICD insertion were: haemopneumothorax (n=338), haemothorax (n=314), simple pneumothorax (n=265), tension pneumothorax (n=79) and open pneumothorax (n=54).Overall, 203 ICDs (19%) were associated with complications: 18% (36/203) were kinked, 18% (36/203) were inserted subcutaneously, 13% (27/203) were too shallow and in 7% (14/203) there was inadequate fixation resulting in dislodgement. Four patients (2%) sustained visceral injuries and two sustained vascular injuries. Forty-one per cent (83/203) were inserted outside the ‘triangle of safety’ but without visceral or vascular injuries. One patient had the ICD inserted on the wrong side. Junior doctors inserted 798 ICDs (76%) while senior doctors inserted 252 (24%). Junior doctors had a significantly higher complication rate (24%) compared with senior doctors (5%) (p Conclusions ICD insertion is associated with a high rate of complications. These complications are significantly higher when junior doctors perform the procedure. A multifaceted quality improvement programme is needed to improve the situation.
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