Insertion Related
  • Intercostal vessel laceration and haemothorax
  • Lung parenchyma perforation
  • Perforation of visceral organs (lung, heart, oesophagus, diaphragm, and intraabdominal organs)
  • Interfissural - usually does not affect outcome
  • Chest wall insertion - unstable chest wall injuries, hurried insertion
  • Chylothorax - late complication due to injury to thoracic duct
Position Related
  • Drain dislodgment - can be reduced by meticulous technique and good anchorage
  • Non-functional (Kinked, clotted) - can result in tension pneumothorax
  • Subcutaneous emphysema - associated with prolonged drainage, poor tube placement and side port migration
  • Post-removal pneumothorax - can be reduced by good removal technique
  • Empyema
  • Insertion site wound infection
Nerve Injury
  • Intercostal neuralgia
  • Phrenic nerve injury
  • Horner's Syndrome
  • Re-expansion Pulmonary Edema - uncommon but mortality up to 20%