NYMC Faculty Publications

Randomized Clinical Trial of 14-French (14F) Pigtail Catheters versus 28-32F Chest Tubes in the Management of Patients with Traumatic Hemothorax and Hemopneumothorax

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World Journal of Surgery

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INTRODUCTION: Traditional management of traumatic hemothorax/hemopneumothorax (HTX/HPTX) has been insertion of large-bore 32-40 French (Fr) chest tubes (CTs). Retrospective studies have shown 14Fr percutaneous pigtail catheters (PCs) are equally effective as CTs. Our aim was to compare effectiveness between PCs and CTs by performing the first randomized controlled trial (RCT). We hypothesize PCs work equally as well as CTs in management of traumatic HTX/HPTX.

METHODS: Prospective RCT comparing 14Fr PCs to 28-32Fr CTs for management of traumatic HTX/HPTX from 07/2015 to 01/2018. We excluded patients requiring emergency tube placement or who refused. Primary outcome was failure rate defined as retained HTX or recurrent PTX requiring additional intervention. Secondary outcomes included initial output (IO), tube days and insertion perception experience (IPE) score on a scale of 1-5 (1 = tolerable experience, 5 = worst experience). Unpaired Student's t-test, chi-square and Wilcoxon rank-sum test were utilized with significance set at P < 0.05.

RESULTS: Forty-three patients were enrolled. Baseline characteristics between PC patients (N = 20) and CT patients (N = 23) were similar. Failure rates (10% PCs vs. 17% CTs, P = 0.49) between cohorts were similar. IO (median, 650 milliliters[ml]; interquartile range[IR], 375-1087; for PCs vs. 400 ml; IR, 240-700; for CTs, P = 0.06), and tube duration was similar, but PC patients reported lower IPE scores (median, 1, "I can tolerate it"; IR, 1-2) than CT patients (median, 3, "It was a bad experience"; IR, 3-4, P = 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In patients with traumatic HTX/HPTX, 14Fr PCs were equally as effective as 28-32Fr CTs with no significant difference in failure rates. PC patients, however, reported a better insertion experience. www.ClinicalTrials.gov Registration ID: NCT02553434.