Article| Volume 31, ISSUE 5, P588-593, September 2017

Is a Chest Radiograph Required After Removal of Chest Tubes in Children?


      Our objective was to determine the clinical value of obtaining a chest radiograph after removal of a chest tube. We conducted a retrospective chart review of pediatric general surgical patients with a chest tube in place after a thoracic procedure over a 3-year time period. Postremoval films were considered to be of value if they led to a change in clinical management. Of 468 patients who had a thoracic procedure, 281 patients had a chest tube and a postremoval film. In 263 patients (93.6%) there was no change in the postremoval film result compared with baseline. Only two patients (0.7%) required an intervention based on symptoms, not based on the postremoval film. Eliminating routine postremoval radiographs after chest tube removal in pediatric patients will lessen radiation exposure and provide cost savings with no adverse impact on outcome.

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      Ellen McGrath, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of General Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.


      Lee Ranstrom, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of General Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.


      Debra Lajoie, Director of Nursing Research Surgical Programs, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.


      Lauren McGlynn, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Department of General Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.


      David Mooney, Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, and Staff Surgeon, Department of General Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.