b. Selection of the System. The physician will specify the drainage setup he
prefers to use. It is a nursing responsibility to be familiar with the various systems and
(1) When the physician specifies his preference, the nursing personnel will
obtain, assemble, and check the system, maintaining asepsis within the system.
(2) Chest drainage can be organized into three types of systems. Each can
be used with or without suction. Refer to Figure 2-2 as you read the descriptions that
Figure 2-2. Water-seal drainage system
c. The Single-Bottle Water-Seal System.
(1) Connecting or drainage tubing joins the patient's chest tube with a
drainage tube (glass rod) that enters the drainage bottle.
(2) The end of the glass rod is submerged in water, extending about 2.5 cm
(1 inch) below the water level.
(3) The water seal permits drainage of air and fluid from the pleural space
but does not allow air to reenter the chest.
(4) Drainage depends upon gravity, the mechanics of respiration, and, if
ordered, the addition of controlled suction.