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Efficacy of Chest X-Rays after Drain Removal in Adult and Paediatric Patients Undergoing Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery: A Systematic Review
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  • Myat Thet,
  • Khin Phue Phue Han,
  • Khun Eaint Hlwar,
  • Khaing Soe Thet,
  • Aung Oo
Myat Thet
Imperial College London

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Khin Phue Phue Han
University of Mandalay
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Khun Eaint Hlwar
University of Mandalay
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Khaing Soe Thet
University of Mandalay
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Aung Oo
Barts Health NHS Trust
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Background: Chest X-rays are routinely obtained after removal of chest drains in patients undergoing cardiac and thoracic surgical procedures. However, a lack of guidelines and evidence could question the practice. Routine chest X-rays increase exposure to ionising radiation, increase healthcare costs and lead to overutilisation of available resources. This review aims to explore the evidence in the literature regarding the routine use of chest X-rays following the removal of chest drains. Materials & Method: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed, Medline via Ovid, Cochrane central register of control trials (CENTRAL) and ClinicalTrials.gov without any limit on the publication year. The references of the included studies are manually screened to identify potentially eligible studies. Results: A total of 375 studies were retrieved through the search and 18 studies were included in the review. Incidence of pneumothorax remains less than 10% across adult cardiac, and paediatric cardiac and thoracic surgical populations. The incidence may be as high as 50% in adult thoracic surgical patients. However, the re-intervention rate remains less than 2% across the populations. Development of respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms can adequately guide for a chest X-ray following the drain removal. As an alternative, bedside ultrasound can be used to detect pneumothorax in the thorax after the removal of a chest drain without the need for ionising radiation. Conclusion: A routine chest X-ray following chest drain removal in adult and paediatric patients undergoing cardiac and thoracic surgery is not necessary. It can be omitted without compromising patient safety. Obtaining a chest X-ray should be clinically guided. Alternatively, bedside ultrasound can be used for the same purpose without the need for radiation exposure.
05 Oct 2022Submitted to Journal of Cardiac Surgery
05 Oct 2022Assigned to Editor
05 Oct 2022Submission Checks Completed
23 Oct 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Oct 2022Editorial Decision: Accept