Quote from CleioRN
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 and it was a much more progressive hospital. So! Does anyone have any information/studies that speak to this subject. Do you? don't you? I'm looking for some evidence to bring to my units educator who doesn't see a problem with the practice. I would appreciate any information! Thanks!
Good question! I had a similar interest in this a year or so ago...
If you're looking for reputable 'evidence' one way or another, the Cochrane people conducted a literature review up through 2007. They concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that either aggresive(sp?) 'stripping' or gentle 'milking' was a better way of clearing clots from mediastinal chest-drains...OR (and this is the kicker) that either practice was necessary at all.
So...the jury is still out i suppose, and probably a reason why you're finding this discrepency in hospitals' policies.
And...as far as your unit educator...he/she may be right in that there is no hard evidence that it is detrimental (speaking of 'milking') and may (or may not) be helpful. On the flip-side, you can show him/her that 'stripping' may (or may not) be helpful ...but is USUALLY very uncomfortable to the patient and can potentially (if rarely) cause complications...AND it's not clear if the practice helps!...so why encourage it?
To be safe your educator may want to re-evaluate this...or at least encourage a gentler approach to clearing clots. (which may or may not be helpful
Clear as mud, eh?