Milking chest tubes - page 3

I just found out that the hospital I am currently working at, still has it in their policy for maintaining chest tubes to "milk" the chest tubes as needed. At my last hospital is was never allowed... Read More

  1. by   Zombi RN
    At our facility it depends on the surgeon -- some want you to strip, some don't. They will tell you what they want you to do. However, I have not seen even the ones who don't like it say not to strip in an event where tamponade is likely.

    I do think that stripping and milking are helpful in some situations. Like someone else said, best practice doesn't fit every patient every time -- I think the outcome of stripping vs. not stripping must be taken into consideration when deciding if this should be done or not.
  2. by   CABG patch kid
    Interesting discussion.... It never occurred to me to even see what the policy is at our facility, as it's assumed that you will milk a mediastinal CT on a fresh open heart if during your assessment you feel that it's not draining adequately, especially on a pt who has received blood products (namely FFP) and is now putting out "chunky" clotty drainage. In fact it's safe to bet that the surgeon would be pretty peeved if you called him to tell him the tube clotted off and that you haven't attempted to break the clot loose.

    I will also say that we don't routinely strip tubes. We rarely do, it's only if needed, but I've seen the surgeon give a tube a good few strips before going home for the night.

    Also the size of the tube makes a difference. The smaller silicone tubes they use with the noninvasive patients have a tendency to clot easier, you definitely have to watch those closer.
  3. by   Matt799
    Quote from joeyzstj
    You DO NOT want to milk or strip a Pleural chest tube. You should only strip a pleural chest tube toward the patient as to blow the clot back into the body.
    I'm studying for boards and my review course says, "Gently milk in the direction of drainage, if needed." This was in regards to a pleural tube. Is anyone else familiar with the practice of milking a clot back in to the body? If so, what purpose does this serve?When I read this comment I thought it was a typo but then I thought I may not fully understand the negative pressure generate by stripping away from the patient towards the collection chamber. Would the result be comparable to jacking up the wall suction? Having personally had a spontaneous pneumo/hemo, chest tube, and pleurodesis, I'm not sure why I can't wrap my head around some of this stuff lol. All I know if my nurses let no one near my tube. If someone so much as repositioned it they flipped out lol.Thanks all!
  4. by   jezlynh
    I work at a very large hospital ranked in top #5 in country for CT surgery. We are instructed to strip chest tubes immediately after heart surgery. I agree with previous posts...I have never seen any harm come from stripping CT'S, only from them clotting off.