Pleural Drains in Adults - Consensus Guidelines


Improve the standard of clinical practice in the insertion, management, trouble shooting and removal of pleural drains in adults within NSW hospitals.


  • Improve patient experience and outcomes.
  • Increase awareness of ‘good’ practice in relation to pleural drains.
  • Support managers and clinicians to implement processes that will reduce the risks associated with pleural drains.


The Guidelines were released in May 2014 in an online searchable format. Clinical and education resources including Insertion Pleural Drain video and Pleural Drain Recommendations for Education and Training of Advanced Trainees and Specialist Nurses are available online to support implementation of the guidelines within Local Health Districts and Special Health Networks.

Clinicians have raised the need for Indwelling Pleural Catheter (IPC) Guidelines to standardise practice and improve patient experience, An IPC Guideline work group was established in 2015 to lead this work.


  • Clinicians flagged a high rate of adverse events related to pleural drains were occurring in NSW hospitals.
  • Sub optimal clinical management underpinned 69% of adverse events (n=185) reported in NSW in 2010/11.
  • ACI convened a Pleural Procedures Working Group in 2012 to lead the development of Pleural Drain Guidelines based on British Thoracic Society Pleural Disease Guidelines and expert clinician consensus.


Key Dates

Pilot Sites

Implementation Sites


  • Establish NSW baseline data for pleural drains.
  • Monitor adverse events related to pleural drains.
  • Monitor the number of downloads of the online Pleural Drain in Adults – Consensus Guidelines and clinical resources from ACI website.

Related Initiatives

  • Whole of Hospital


Cecily Barrack
Respiratory Network Manager
02 9464 4625

Daniel Comerford
Director, Acute Care
02 9464 4602

Page Top | Added: 8 November 2013 | Last modified: 15 January 2016

Cecily Barrack
Respiratory Network Manager
02 9464 4625