Objectives: Small-bore pigtail catheters are now being used more frequently for draining pleural effusions. This study aimed to measure the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of these devices in different clinical conditions. Methods: We retrospectively collected data from 141 patients with pleural effusions of various etiologies who underwent ultrasound-guided pigtail catheter insertion at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman. Results: The majority 109 (77.3%) of patients had exudates. The mean age was 50.0±18.6 years in patients with exudates and 67.3±15.5 in patients with transudates (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference (p = 0.232) in the median drainage duration between exudates (6.0 days) and transudates (4.5 days). The incidence of pain requiring regular analgesics, pneumothorax, and blockage were 36.2% (n = 51), 2.8% (n = 4), and 0.7% (n = 1), respectively. The overall success rate of pleural effusion drainage was 90.1%. Among the 109 cases of exudative pleural effusion, 89.0% were successful compared to a 93.8% success rate among patients with transudative effusion (p = 0.737). Short-term success rates were high in all causes of effusions: Lung cancer (100%), metastasis (90.0%), pleural infections (83.3%), cardiac failure (94.7%), renal disease (85.7%), and liver disease (100%). Conclusions: Ultrasound-guided pigtail catheter insertion is an effective, comfortable, and safe method of draining pleural fluid. It should be considered as the first intervention if drainage of a pleural effusion is clinically indicated.
- Pleural Effusion
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