Competent chest tube management represents the mainstay of postoperative care for the cardiothoracic patient. Patency and integrity of mediastinal and pleural catheters is crucial to preservation of cardiopulmonary performance. Despite the relatively brief period of time these catheters dwell, knowledge of their placement, function, and current research findings relevant to their care is essential for appropriate nursing interventions. This article addresses application and management of chest tubes, autotransfusion techniques, and areas for future nursing research
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©1993 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses