I'm writing here for my mom, who is 90 and unable to participate directly. While her lung cancer is in remission, she has CHF and had a PleurX catheter placed a little over two months ago for right-side pleural effusion. At first, it caused significant enough pain that we considered removing it and returning to regular thoracentesis procedures, but the pain largely subsided after about a week. The pain returned a bit under a week ago and has been quite bad. Her cardiologist's presumption is that it slipped one way or another and is now in a troublesome position.
The options I'm aware of are either strong medication to address the pain or removal of the catheter. Pain medication is only partially helpful and leaves her disoriented. On the other hand, a decision for removal would be unfortunate, both because it's worked quite well up to now and because it's not entirely clear that she would survive without it.
I'm wondering if there's a middle option. Can a PleurX catheter be repositioned if its current position causes great pain? Alternatively, can it be removed and then — either immediately or after some short amount of time — be placed again in different or better position?
Are there any options to eliminate the cause of the pain other than removing the catheter?
Many thanks, in advance, for your response.