Do we need more than one mediastinal drain in cardiac surgery?

Dhananjay Bansal, Soumya Guha, Ashish Sharma, Anubhav Gupta, Narender Singh Jhajhria, Palash Aiyer, Vijay Grover, Vijay Kumar Gupta


Background: Placement of mediastinal drains after cardiac surgery is standard of care. However, there is no consensus over the number of drains to be placed. Is there any advantage of multiple drains over a single drain? This question formed the premise of this study.

Methods: All consecutive patients operated between 2014 and 2015 were included. Those with pleural drains were excluded. Patients had either a single drain in the pericardial cavity or had two drains, one in the pericardial and the other in retrostenal area. A total of 244 patients were included in the study group.

Results: Out of 244 patients, 122 had single drain and 122 had 2 mediastinal drains. The mean age was 24.38±17.08 (Age range 6 months to 66 years) and male: female ratio was 1.5:1. There was no statistically significant difference in single drain vs double drain group in terms of the number of days of drainage (1.65 vs 1.55, p 0.325), time to mobilize (36.57 vs 35.23 hours, p=0.684), ICU stay (2.62 vs 2.63 days, p=0.96)and re-exploration (5.7%, vs 9.8%, p=0.34). However, patients with two mediastinal drains had higher requirement of analgesia (p=0.004).

Conclusions: The use of two mediastinal drains does not confer any advantage over a single mediastinal drain after cardiac surgery in assessing or controlling bleed or recovery. However, the post-operative pain is significantly higher with use of two mediastinal drains.


Cardiac surgery, Mediastinal drain, Post-operative

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