The chest tube should never be clamped. Doing so in a patient with a residual pleural leak, even if small, can lead to a tension pneumothorax and resultant cardiac arrest.
Clamping, stripping, and irrigating:
Clamping the chest tube is not done except briefly to change the chest drainage container and to check for air leaks. The clamp needs to have rubber sleeves over its jaws so as not to damage the chest tube.
NEVER CLAMP THE CHEST TUBE IF THERE IS AN AIR LEAK FROM THE PATIENT.
Stripping the tubes(with mechanical strippers) to promote drainage through them is not favored anymore as it causes high negativity within the chest cavity which may damage the tissue.
Irrigation is usually only done by the surgeon.
American College of Chest Physicians:
Only 41% physicicans will clamp chest tube once lung inflated prior to removal...
***Chest Tube Care and Monitoring
UK--PORTEX waterseal setup:
***Nursing Management of Chest Tubes Who gets a chest tube?http://academic.cuesta.org/mscott/chstube.PDF