Outcomes of patients with chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax

Eric S. Orman, Anna S.F. Lok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


Purpose: Case reports and small case series have reported a high rate of complications associated with chest tube placement for hepatic hydrothorax. We describe the in-hospital and 3-month outcomes of patients who have had this procedure. Methods: A retrospective medical record review was performed of all patients admitted to a tertiary care center over a 10-year period with a chest tube placed for hepatic hydrothorax. Demographic data and outcomes were collected and analyzed. Results: Seventeen patients were identified; 12 were taking diuretics and 8 were taking multiple diuretics at the time of admission. MELD score was 14 (range = 7-34). During hospitalization, 16 had at least 1 and 12 had more than 1 complications. The most common complications were acute kidney injury (n = 11), pneumothorax (n = 7), and empyema (n = 5). Two patients died during the index admission and four others within 3 months of that admission. Six of seven patients who received TIPS survived. Conclusions: Chest tube insertion for hepatic hydrothorax carries significant morbidity and mortality, with questionable benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)582-586
Number of pages5
JournalHepatology International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute kidney injury
  • Ascites
  • Chest tube
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatic hydrothorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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