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Interventional Radiology: Placement and Care of Your Aspira Drainage Catheter (7651)

Interventional Radiology: Placement and Care of Your Aspira Drainage Catheter (7651) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Radiology - Invasive Procedures


Placement and Care of your Aspira Drainage Catheter
(Interventional Radiology)

This handout tells you how to prepare for
placement of an Aspira Drainage Catheter.
This procedure is done in the Interventional
Radiology Department.

What is an Aspira Drainage Catheter?
This catheter is a soft silicone tube with
many holes on one end which is placed
where fluid collects in your peritoneal cavity
(belly) or pleura (lungs). It allows the fluid
to drain out of your body and into a drainage
bag which will help to relieve symptoms of
shortness of breath, cough, and stomach
ache. A valve at the end of the catheter stops
fluid from leaking out and stops air from
getting in when you are not using it. A
portion of the catheter is tunneled under
your skin to cut the risk of infection. This
drain allows you to remove the fluid at home
instead of coming into the hospital for
paracentesis (take out fluid from the belly)
or thoracentesis (take out fluid from the

How to prepare for the placement of your
Aspira Drainage catheter
1. If you are taking any type of blood
thinner (such as aspirin or
Coumadin), you may be told to stop
taking them before the catheter is
2. You should have nothing by mouth
after midnight on the night before the
drain placement.
3. If there is a chance you may be
pregnant, please tell your doctor.
4. Be sure to tell the doctor if you have
any allergies to iodine, latex, contrast
or medicines.

What are the risks and potential
1. Infection (watch for fever, redness,
and oozing at your tube site)
2. Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
3. A leak around the drain
4. Catheter has changed position
5. Bleeding
6. Injury to other organs such as your
lung, bowel, and liver
7. Low blood pressure if too much fluid
is removed
8. Re-expansion pulmonary edema (too
much fluid is removed too fast from
your lung and your lung fills with
more fluid).
9. Pain around the drain

What is the procedure like?
ξ This procedure will be done in
Interventional Radiology and often
takes about 1 hour.
ξ An IV will be started to give you
medicine to help you relax.
ξ The nurse will be checking your
blood pressure and pulse during the
ξ Ultrasound and X-ray will be used to
help locate the correct place for the
ξ Once the location is determined, we
will inject lidocaine (a numbing
medicine) into the skin around the
area where we will be working.
ξ A small cut (insertion site) in your
chest or abdominal wall will be

ξ A needle will go through that cut and
into the fluid. The needle will be
exchanged for the flexible drain.
ξ The doctor will then tunnel the
catheter under your skin and will
make another cut where the catheter
will exit your body (See figures 1
and 2). You may feel some pressure
during the placement of the tube.
ξ Fluid from your belly or chest will
be removed after the placement of
the drain.
ξ The tube will be secured in place
with a skin suture.

Aspira Drainage of Fluid in the Belly

Aspira Drainage Catheter in the Lungs

After the procedure
ξ You will spend 1-2 hours on bed
ξ A nurse will teach you how to use
your new Aspira catheter while you
are in the hospital, you should
practice draining the fluid from your
chest or belly before you leave so
you feel at ease using it.
ξ Most often, if Hospice is involved
with your care they know how to use
this drain but if they have questions
they are to call Interventional

Care and Maintenance:
Refer to the Aspira drainage kit step by step
instructions, as well as, a DVD for the
dressing care and how to use the drain.

When to call your doctor:
ξ If you have signs of infection at the
puncture site on your belly or lung,
such as:
o Redness or warmth
o Pus-like drainage or bleeding
o Excess swelling
o Temperature (by mouth)
greater than 100.4°F for 2
readings taken four hours
ξ Pain after draining the catheter that
doesn’t go away
ξ Shortness of breath after you drain
ξ The fluid you are draining changes in

ξ If Aspira stops draining or unable to
drain. Your valve may need to be
exchanged which can be fixed in the

Phone numbers:
If you have questions after reading this
handout call the Interventional Radiology
Dept, 8:00-4:00, M-F (608)-263-9729
Prompt #3. Ask to be connected to “IR
Nurse Coordinator” during normal business
hours or connected to “IR resident on-call”
on weekends.

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 © 11/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7651.