A long-term drainage catheter is an alternative therapy for the treatment of recurrent malignant pleural effusions or ascites. The catheter is designed with the goal of outpatient management of this fluid. Several studies confirm efficacy and safety of this method with good patient acceptance, reduced cost and infrequent complications.
The catheter is placed along the chest wall or in the abdomen, respectively. There is a one way valve on the end to prevent leakage of fluid and allow patients to perform drainage at home every other day using disposable bottles. Should the patient experience three consecutive drainages with minimal output and no residual fluid on imaging, the tube can be safely removed.