Kit Preparation

Unless chest drain insertion is urgent, explain the procedure to the patient and obtain written consent [1] and find a NATSSIP checklist. Then identify that you have the necessary kit. Note that in cases of life-threatening haemothorax, re-using the patient’s blood through use of a cell saver is only possible if the drainage system is primed with saline, not sterile water.

The items of kit include:

  • Cotton wool
  • Skin antiseptic solution e.g. iodine or chlorhexidine in alcohol
  • Gauze swabs
  • A selection of syringes and needles
  • A scalpel blade
  • Suture (e.g. ‘1’ silk)
  • A chest drain
  • 1% lignocaine
  • 3 sterile drapes
  • An instrument for blunt dissection (e.g. curved clamp).