James talks to Dr David Yeo about the management of post-operative drains on the wards. Post-operative drains are generally used either to remove fluid or to characterise fluid. They can initially be confusing for junior doctors to distinguish from other types of tubes used.
Summary: George McClintock
Editor: James Edwards
Interviewee: David Yeo
David Yeo completed his medical training at the University of Sydney after which he was an intern, resident and registrar at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. He completed four years of post-fellowship training. The first was at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in upper gastrointestinal and liver transplantation surgery followed by two years in Melbourne at the Austin Hospital where he worked as the Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplant fellow. He then travelled to the United Kingdom and completed a year of hepatobiliary and liver transplantation at St James’ University Hospital in Leeds. He now works as a consultant Upper Gastrointestinal and Transplant surgeon at Royal Prince Alfred, the Mater and Strathfield Private Hospitals in Sydney.
With Dr David Yeo, Upper GI and Transplant Surgeon, at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the Mater and Strathfield Private Hospitals in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
You are asked to review a 55-year-old female. Day 1 post-op from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The nursing staff are concerned that there is some coloured output from the drain.
Never trust a drain – if you suspect that someone is bleeding or has a leak, but there is nothing in the drain you shouldn’t take that to mean that they aren’t/don’t. It only indicates that whatever is going on isn’t occurring near the internal opening of the drain. It may be that the drain is in a separate cavity and the blood isn’t reaching it, or that it is occluded with blood or viscera. In this case the drain can only be trusted as a positive sign not a negative one.
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