You must frequently assess pleural or mediastinal chest tubes for many things, but remember this. If the tubes are kinked and there isn't the propert facilitation of drainage, blood could collect in the pericardial space, of if mediastinal, clots and clogs can prevent drainaining and lead to tamponade. as well.
There are surgical reasons for lack of chest tube drainage or too much chest tube drainage. There are also other clinical reasons or mechanical reasons--issues with suction, kinking, as you have stated. You can have medical reasons, such as the development of a coagulopathy or other dynamic changes, or changes related to various medication/s.
This is why so much is continually monitored in the immediate minutes and hours post open heart surgery. I have never worked in any OHS unit, for example, that didn't require q 1 hour or closer--can be q 5 minutes, q 15 minutes (depending on when the pt was brought to you out of the OR or if there was some acute change) and in some cases, it's pretty much continuously every minute. Part of this continual or at least very frequent assessment is checking chest tubes for drainage and the possibility of anything untoward every hour at the least--again more if there is something going on. Also, fresh out post-op is q 15 minutes, and back in the day, we used to shoot a lot of cardiac indices. You followed a whole system, and by the time you reassessed, re-shot, re-drew labs, drew ABG/CBGs, called for another chest film, drained and checked your tubes, foley, any other drainage systesm ,etc, titrated the appropriate medications, etc, it was time to do it all over again. But some things are different nowadays, also d/t the minimally invasive work coming from the OR. (I moved to kid hearts, so PA cathethers aren't what is usually followed for them--very rare in many kids, to shoot cardiac outputs.)
There is a huge protocol for immediate post-op recovery we followed at the best centers. And people watched until they were sure you knew what you were doing and following it. Too much can go wrong too quickly.
I know this doesn't seem like a fresh from the OR post-op unit player, but really, if someone is considered guarded or stable (within what that means in the critical care area), I still will check all lines and tubes for flow and proper function every hour, and I will document that I did so on the flow sheet.
Being anal retentive for good cause can be your best friend when working in these areas.