Caring for Your PleurX Pleural Catheter
A PleurX Pleural Catheter has been placed in your chest through a small incision
in your skin into the pleural space (see picture below). This allows you to drain the
extra fluid that builds up around your lungs at home. The part of the catheter that
is inside your chest has a lot of holes to allow fluid to drain. A valve prevents fluid
from leaking out and stops air from getting into the catheter when you are not
How to drain your PleurX Pleural Catheter
You may need someone to help you care for your PleurX
catheter. Before you leave the hospital, a nurse will teach you
and your caregiver how to drain the catheter. You and your
caregiver should practice draining the fluid from your chest
with the nurse before you leave.
While at home, you should drain the fluid from your chest:
☐ Every 24-48 hours depending on your symptoms
☐ As directed by your doctor ____________
Do not use scissors or other sharp objects near the PleurX catheter. There is a blue
slide clamp in the Procedure Pouch should the catheter accidentally be cut.
Getting Started: Preparing to Drain
1. Set up a clean area on a table or counter to set up your supplies.
a. 1 or 2 vacuum bottles (500mL)
b. PleurX Procedure Pack, which has the gauze, foam pad, valve
replacement cap and gloves
2. Place the number of bottles that you plan on using near your workspace.
a. Do not drain more than 2 bottles (total 1000 ml) of fluid from your chest
at one time.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water for 1 minute.
4. Remove the dressing that covers your catheter. If you see
redness, swelling, or fluid around the catheter, drain the
fluid from your chest and call your doctor).
5. Wash your hands again with soap and water for at
least 1 minute.
6. Open the Drainage kit bag and remove the Blue
Procedure Pack Pouch.
7. Open the Procedure Pack pouch and set the
adhesive dressing aside.
8. Set the blue procedure pack on your workspace
with the flap side up. Carefully unfold the blue
wrapping. Do not touch the items with your
ungloved hands. Everything inside the pouch is
sterile. If you touch anything, throw the pack
away and open a new one.
9. Remove the bottle with the drainage line from the bag. Be careful not to touch
the tip of the drainage line. It should be covered with a piece of plastic for
extra safety. Remove the paper tape from the drainage line and uncoil the line.
10. Place the access tip from the drainage bottle on the blue wrapping to keep it
A. Pinch Clamp: Squeeze the pinch clamp on the
drainage line closed.
B. Roller Clamp: close the roller clamp by rolling the
wheel towards the bottle
12. Put on the sterile gloves found in the Blue Procedure Pack.
The gloves fit either hand. Be careful not to let the
outside of the gloves touch anything non-sterile such as
your skin or clothing.
13. Open the pouch that has the white cap in it and let the
cap fall onto the blue wrapping. (The white cap may
not be in a pouch but will still be in the pack).
14. Open the three alcohol pads, but do not remove them from their pouches. Keep
them on the blue wrapping.
Connecting to the Drainage Bottle
15. Remove the cover from the access tip on the
drainage bottle line and set the access tip back
on the sterile blue wrapping.
16. Hold the base of the catheter valve (the catheter
connected to you) and remove the white cap by
twisting it counterclockwise and pulling gently.
Throw that cap away.
17. While holding the base of the catheter valve in
one hand, clean around the valve opening with
an alcohol pad.
18. Continue holding the catheter near the valve.
Pick up the drainage line with your other hand
and insert the access tip securely into the
catheter valve. You will feel and hear a click
when they are locked together.
Draining the Fluid
It is normal to feel some discomfort/pain or coughing when draining fluid.
If this happens, clamp the drainage line to slow down or stop the flow of
fluid for a few minutes. If you do not feel better after stopping the draining
of fluid or if the pain is severe, contact the Thoracic Surgery Department.
Do not drain more than 2 bottles (total 1000 ml) of fluid from your chest at
one time. If you feel the need to drain more than this to make breathing
easier, call your doctor.
19. Remove the support clip from the
drainage bottle by grasping the upper
part of the flange and pulling
outward. (Double check to make sure
the drainage line is clamped.)
20. Hold the bottle steady with one hand and push the white plunger down with the
other hand to puncture the foil seal. This starts the vacuum.
21. Slowly, release the clamp on the drainage line or open the roller clamp by
moving the roller away from the bottle, this allows fluid to drain into
the vacuum bottle. You can slow the flow by pinching the clamp partially
Closed or partially closing the roller clamp. (The flow into the drainage bottle
may slow down when the fluid inside
the chest is almost fully drained).
22. When the bottle is full or flow stops, pinch the clamp closed or close the roller
on the drainage line. Drainage will usually take between 5-15 minutes.
Changing the Drainage Bottle
23. If you need a second drainage bottle, remove the new bottle from the drainage
kit. Again be careful not to touch the tip of the drainage line with your gloves.
24. Squeeze the pinch clamp or close the roller clamp on the drainage line
25. Repeat steps #18 - #22. (If the tip of the drainage line does not touch
anything you do not need to clean the valve with alcohol when connecting
to a new drainage bottle)
26. When you have finished draining (max of two 500 ml bottles), pull the access
tip of the bottle drainage line out of the valve and set the used drainage line
27. Clean the catheter valve with a new alcohol
28. Place the new cap that is on the blue wrapping over the catheter valve and twist
it clockwise until it snaps into its locked position.
1. With the last alcohol pad, clean around the catheter site.
2. Place the foam catheter pad under the catheter and above
3. Wind the catheter into loops and place it over the foam pad. Cover the catheter
with the gauze pads.
4. Remove gloves from both hands.
5. Remove and discard the center panel from the
backing of the self-adhesive dressing
6. Peel the printed liner from the self-adhesive dressing, exposing the adhesive
7. Center the dressing over the gauze pads and press it down (do not stretch the
self-adhesive dressing during application, this can lead to skin blisters)
8. Slowly remove the frame while smoothing down the self-adhesive dressing
9. Smooth the entire dressing from the center towards the edges using firm
Emptying the Vacuum Bottle
1. Record the volume of drained fluid.
2. Hold the bottle steady and push down on the plunger,
then move it in a circular motion to make a larger opening
in the foil seal.
3. Open the pinch clamp or roller clamp on the drainage line to release any
vacuum that may
be left in the bottle then re-clamp the drainage line closed.
4. The drainage line is attached with a flexible cap. Place your thumb on the
edge of the cap and push the cap sideways and down into the bottle to loosen
the cap from the bottle rim. Grasp the cap and pull it away from the bottle to
remove the drainage line.
5. Empty the bottle in the toilet or sink.
6. Place the drainage line and bottle in a plastic bag, seal tightly and throw away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if I feel short of breath, start coughing, or have discomfort while
A: It is normal to feel a little short of breath, coughing, or slight discomfort while
draining. If that is the case you can slow down how fast you are draining by
closing the clamp on the drainage line part way or stop draining for a minute to
let these symptoms pass. Call your doctor if you continue to feel short of
breath or have discomfort if you have stopped draining.
Q: How long will the catheter be in my chest?
A: The catheter will be in your chest until fluid stops draining from your chest.
The amount of time will vary from a week to months.
Q: What should I do if the color of the fluid changes from the usual color?
A: Call your doctor with any fluid color changes. This may be a sign of an
Q: Can I take a shower with the catheter inside my chest?
A: Yes, if the dressing is securely attached to your skin, you can get it wet. You
could provide extra protection by covering the dressing with a plastic Ziploc®
bag and remove it after your shower. The dressing is designed to keep
moisture out. If you think that moisture has gotten under the dressing, remove
it right away, clean and dry the area and put on a new dressing. Do not allow
the catheter to soak underwater in a tub, bath, pool, etc.
Q: How do I order more supplies?
A: Patients need to order supplies when you have three drainage kits left.
Supplies are ordered from Edgepark Supplies 1-800-321-0591. The supplies
should arrive within 24 hours. See supply list for order numbers.
Q: What should I do if the catheter accidentally gets cut?
A: If you accidentally cut the catheter follow these steps.
ξ Pinch the catheter closed between your fingers.
ξ Slip the blue slide clamp (provided in the
Procedure Pack) over the catheter and push the
catheter completely into the small end of the
clamp. This will close the catheter.
ξ Call your doctor right away or go to the nearest
Emergency Room or Acute Care Center.
Q: When should I call the doctor?
A: Call your doctor if
ξ You are short of breath after you drain.
ξ You feel that you need to drain sooner than you were told.
ξ The amount of fluid changes in amount (higher or lower), color changes, or
there are lots of clots.
ξ Fever, redness around the catheter site, drainage (lots), skin feels warmer
around the catheter than other areas on the belly, or the drainage smells.
ξ Pain after draining the catheter that doesn’t go away.
If you need to contact your doctor.
Call the number that was provided to you in your discharge summary or dial
If you live out of the area, please call: Toll Free: 1-800-323-8942.
To watch a Video on Draining your PleurX Catheter visit these links:
For bottles with the pinch Clamp you can get to the videos by either:
1. Go to CareFusion.com, type “PleurX video” in the search bar. Click PleurX
patient resources. Then click “PleurX patient education drainage video with
2. Youtube.com and type in “PleurX draining”
For bottles with the Roller Clamp you can get to the videos by either:
1. Go to CareFusion.com, type “PleurX video” in the search bar. Click “How
to drain at home with the PleurX system.”
2. Youtube.com and type in “PleurX draining roller clamp”
For more information related to the PleurX catheter, please visit Carefusion.com.
Type “PleurX” into the search box. Click “PleurX resources”.
PleurX Pleural Catheter Drainage Products
Kit Contents – Catalog #50-7500B – packaged and sold 10 kits per case
1 vacuum bottle (500 ml) with drainage line
1 Procedure Pack, containing:
ξ Self-Adhesive dressing
ξ Blue Wrapping with the following
o 3 alcohol pads, 70% isopropyl alcohol
o 8 gauze pads, 4” x 4”
o 1 foam catheter pad
o 1 valve cap
o 1 pair of gloves
o 1 blue emergency slide clamp
Vacuum Bottle – Catalog #50-7205 B– packaged and sold 10 each per case
500 ml. Bottle with drainage line
Replacement Valve Cap – Catalog #50-7235 – packaged and sold 10 each per
Edgepark Medical Supplies, Inc
Illustrations throughout this document courtesy of CareFusion Corporation or one of its subsidiaries, 2010. All
rights reserved. Summary with illustrations above adapted from document prepared by a CareFusion Corporation
subsidiary, 2010. All rights reserved.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©6/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and
Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5813