Patient information – PleurX® system

Manage pleural effusions or malignant ascites outside of the hospital

The PleurX® drainage system lets you take control of uncomfortable and painful symptoms from pleural effusions or malignant ascites. A safe, proven option that more than 200,000 patients have used since 1997, the PleurX system helps you drain fluid buildup in the comfort of your own home.

How does the PleurX system work?

The PleurX system includes a drainage catheter and drainage bottles that collect fluid. The catheter is inserted, typically as a simple outpatient procedure, in the chest for draining pleural effusions or in the abdomen for malignant ascites. The end of the catheter stays outside of the body, hidden under a bandage when not in use. To drain, just connect the end of the catheter to the drainage line on the bottle, following the PleurX drainage procedure directions for use, and the bottle will automatically draw out the fluid.

Ask your doctor if the PleurX system is right for you.


The PleurX catheter is inserted in the chest for draining pleural effusions.
The end of the catheter is on the outside of the body, covered by a thin protective dressing while not in use.

The PleurX catheter is inserted in the chest for draining pleural effusions.

The end of the catheter stays on the outside of the body, covered by a thin protective dressing while not in use.

The PleurX catheter is inserted in the abdomen for draining malignant ascites.
The protective dressing is virtually undetectable under clothing

The PleurX catheter is inserted in the abdomen for draining malignant ascites.

The protective dressing is virtually undetectable under clothing.



Popular PleurX resources

We offer various resources to help you understand and use the PleurX system, including:

PleurX patient education brochure

Learn about the PleurX system, including how it works and what you should expect from it.

PleurX drainage video

Learn how to drain fluid using the PleurX system.

PleurX drainage instructional chart

Learn how to use the PleurX system for drainage, step by step.

PleurX drainage procedure directions for use

Learn about the PleurX system in depth.



Frequently asked questions

Q. What is malignant ascites?

A. Malignant ascites is fluid buildup in your abdomen, which causes abdominal pressure and discomfort.

Q. What are pleural effusions?

A. Pleural effusions are fluid buildup around your lungs, which can cause breathing difficulty.

Q. How can the PleurX system help me?

A. The PleurX system lets you drain fluid at home and on your own schedule, so you can manage fluid buildup before it becomes even more uncomfortable. For most patients, drainage takes approximately five to 15 minutes. You drain fluid on your schedule, without needing to visit the doctor when your fluid builds up.

The PleurX drainage system is a safe, proven option that has provided relief to over 200,000 patients since 1997.

Q. How do I get the PleurX system?

A. Ask your doctor if it is a good choice for treating your malignant ascites or pleural effusions. If you and your doctor decide that PleurX is an option, you will get the PleurX catheter placed in your chest cavity (for pleural effusions) or abdomen (for malignant ascites), which can be performed as an outpatient procedure.

Q. How does the PleurX system work?

A. After the PleurX catheter is placed into your chest cavity or abdomen, the end of the catheter stays outside of your body, covered by a thin, protective dressing while not in use. To drain fluid, simply connect the end of the catheter to the drainage line on the PleurX drainage bottle in accordance with the PleurX drainage procedure directions for use. The vacuum bottle automatically draws out the fluid through the tube.

Q. How do I drain fluid myself?

A. Your doctor or nurse will train you on using the PleurX drainage bottles. Basically, you will simply connect the end of the tube to the drainage line on the PleurX drainage bottle. The bottle contains a vacuum that automatically draws out the fluid through the catheter. A caregiver can also help you drain the fluid.

Q. Will people know I have a catheter?

A. The end of the PleurX catheter stays outside of your body, covered by a thin dressing that people cannot see under clothing. Nobody has to know that you use the PleurX system if you do not want them to.



Risks of the PleurX drainage system

Chest: Potential complications include, but may not be limited to, pneumothorax, re-expansion pulmonary edema, hypotension, circulatory collapse and infection of the pleural space. Do not drain more than 1,000 mL of fluid from your chest at any one time.

Abdomen: Potential complications include, but may not be limited to, hypotension, circulatory collapse, electrolyte imbalance, protein depletion, ascites leakage, peritonitis, wound infection and loculations of the peritoneal space. Do not drain more than 2,000 mL of fluid from your abdomen at any one time.