The Chest Tube

Chest tubes are sized according to internal diameter in the French (Fr) unit. The length of the tube is marked with numbers to indicate distance inserted into the chest wall. Note that they are numbered relative to the the chest, not to the drainage hole on the chest tube. Located at the distal end of the tube are several drainage holes. A radio-opaque stripe runs along the length of the tube and outlines the most proximal drainage hole. This is used to confirm correct placement of the tube in the pleural space on CXR post-insertion.