Drainology: Leveraging research in chest-drain management to enhance recovery after cardiothoracic surgery

Kevin W. Lobdell, Louis P. Perrault, Rachel H. Drgastin, Alessandro Brunelli, Robert J. Cerfolio, Daniel T. Engelman, ERAS Cardiac Society Working Group  |  April 9, 2024

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Central Message

Wide variation in the use of chest drains after cardiothoracic surgery can compromise consistency of care and outcomes. The new science of drainology represents an opportunity for quality improvement.


Current practices for chest drain management are typically based on clinical tradition because of a lack of quality evidence. An iterative process of reviewing new research, building standardized best practices around the findings, identifying knowledge gaps, and conducting new studies designed to bridge them is needed to improve postoperative care and patient outcomes after cardiothoracic surgery.

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