Chest Tube and Pacer Wire Removal

Chest Tube and Pacer Wire Removal


Chest tubes are placed at the time of open heart surgery to drain any blood, air, and serous fluid from the mediastinum and right/left/both pleural spaces.  Typically post op day 2-3 chest tubes and pacer wires are removed from a post open heart surgery patient.  Removal is done at bedside by physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner.

Arrythmias/Bradycardia, continued drainage, and appearance of the CXR may prolong the time chest tubes and wires remain.


Patient is placed supine in bed, head of bed slightly up, and supplies gathered – Chest tube removal kit.  A final check of patients heart rate and rhythm, drainage amount, and CXR is performed.


Chest tube removal kit – scalpel blade, 4X4 gauze, medipore tape, bio-hazard bag, wrapped in a chux.


Demonstration of Chest Tube and Pacer Wire Removal


Post Removal

The patient is to remain in bed for 30 minutes post removal, and vitals monitored.  The patient may then ambulate, shower the next day, and have been known to say “Finally Free” really loud.