Background: Mediastinal and pleural tubes are routinely employed following cardiac surgery to prevent accumulation of blood and fluids in the mediastinum or the pleural cavities. Recurrent pneumothorax is the most significant complication after chest tube discontinuation. We reviewed the occurrence of post pull pneumothorax after adult cardiac surgical procedures in our hospital. Methods: A retrospective study of patients undergoing various cardiac surgical procedures over a five year period was performed. The principle outcome was recurrent pneumothorax after chest tube discontinuation. Results: 8900 patients underwent cardiac surgical procedures in the five- year study period. There were 6236 males and 2542 women with a mean age of 66,5 years. One hundred and twenty-two patients suffered postoperative pneumothorax for an overall incidence of 1,4%. Twenty-one of 122 patients developed a pneumothorax of variable size following chest tube removal for an overall incidence of 0,23%. Sixteen patients of 21 need chest drain reinsertion. Conclusions: Incidence of postoperative and post pull pneumothorax following cardiac surgery is very low. However, postoperative pneumothorax is associated with longer ICU length of stay and longer hospital length of stay. Patients suffering post pull pneumothorax have shorter time to drain removal, so premature drain removal can be a cause of post pull pneumothorax.
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