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Question:

Is chest tube drainage advisable if one has an aortic aneurysm?

My father (78 years old) has ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm (more than 7 cm). He developed left-sided parapneumonic pleural effusion following pneumonia and underwent thoracentesis. The residual pleural effusion is not responding to antibiotic therapy. The doctor has recommended intercostal chest tube drainage to remove this. Would this be a safe procedure given that he has a large thoracic aortic aneurysm? Thanks.   

submitted by Sundar from Fort Washington, Pennsylvania on 8/16/2013

Answer:

by Texas Heart Institute cardiovascular surgeon, Joseph S. Coselli, MD    

Joseph S. Coselli, MDRegarding your father with an ascending aortic aneurysm of greater than 7cm, and if intercostal chest tube drainage for a left-sided parapneumonic pleural effusion following pneumonia would be safe?  This would indeed be entirely safe.  In fact, in patients with large aneurysms, thorough management of all associated medical conditions is optimum.  If your father, even at age 78, is in otherwise reasonably good condition from a pulmonary cardiac function and renal standpoint, etc., resection and replacement of his ascending aortic aneurysm at 7cm is clearly indicated.     

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Updated September 2013
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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