How long can a Pleurx chest catheter stay in place?

Fri, 04/09/2021 - 07:35


Can anyone share their experiences with an indwelling Pleurx catheter? Dear Husband had one placed rather urgently 6 weeks ago after two prior thoracentesis procedures about 3 weeks apart. The amount being drained 3x a week was going down for a while and is now trending upwards. Oncologist says that even when systemic treatment is working, the body can continue to create the effusions, requiring the drain to stay in long term.  I'm a bit overwhelmed by that thought and would like to hear from others who have walked this walk.

Thank you,

JanineT Forum …

Hi Joanne,


I'm sorry for not responding and wish someone with personal experience could respond.  Anyone out there in the forum closet want to chime in? 

Clinically, they can be left in place for as long as needed providing they are working properly.  Is he having any pain issues with it?  I don't know if you've done a search but this post and comments might be helpful.


Take care,


In reply to by JanineT Forum …


Hi Janine,

Thanks for the reply, I did search the site and found a few helpful posts and articles. The PleuRx is not causing pain, but we went from 0-60 with this disease in the first 6 weeks of this year and I had it in my head that the catheter would be a temporary thing -- as soon as the systemic therapy started, it would be removed and a certain level of normalcy would return (like being able to swim.) So, again, it is not causing pain, just some discomfort and a change in habits and perspectives. Since at the moment, it looks like taking it out may not happen, I would appreciate replies from anyone with experience with having a permanent indwelling catheter for malignant pleural effusions.


JanineT Forum …

I understand Joanne.  There are a million different ways to get thrown into the deep end of lung cancer and there's only so much understanding you can take in or find.  For my husband, it was horrible pain from a pancoast tumor, 2 needle biopsies and one VATS (video assisted surgery) that didn't capture any cancer cells though it was clear from the rib destruction and tumor that it was cancer but a biopsy is needed before anyone will start treatment. So he had a full on open thoracotomy.  Things I wish I'd known then...


One thing I would say is it's still early on and I would not assume they won't be able to remove it.  It sounds like he's a swimmer and I'm so sorry he can't.  Make sure his oncologist understands getting in the water is important, hopefully, they take your husband's wants as well as his needs into consideration.  If he is able to see an interventional pulmonologist, they specialize in this type of treatment and manage them every day and can give y'all an idea of what to expect and what options to consider to get him floating again. 


Jonathan (turkdoris) is trying to help his mom problem solve pleurex cath issues.  He may not read other threads and you could pop in on his thread here.