PleurX® Drainage System for Patients

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.

  • Pleural effusions – fluid buildup around your lungs that makes breathing difficult.
  • Malignant ascites – fluid buildup in your abdomen that increases abdominal pressure and discomfort.

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, without the need for repeat doctor or hospital visits.

How does the PleurX system work?

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

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

The protective dressing is virtually undetectable under clothing
The protective dressing is virtually undetectable under clothing.


For more information on the PleurX system and drainage, view our patient education brochure and learn how to drain at home.

View all of our resources for patients.



Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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 drainage system lets you drain fluid at home and on your own schedule, so you can manage fluid buildup before it becomes even more uncomfortable than it already is. 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 the PleurX system is a good choice for treating your malignant ascites or pleural effusions. If you and your doctor decide that PleurX is an option for you, you will get the PleurX catheter placed in your chest cavity (for pleural effusions) or abdomen (for malignant ascites). PleurX placement can be performed as an outpatient procedure.

Q. How does the PleurX system work?

A. After the 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 directions for use. The vacuum bottle automatically draws out the fluid through the tube. 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.

Q. How do I drain fluid myself?

A. Your doctor or nurse will train you on drainage with the PleurX system, so you fully understand how to drain fluid 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. Once you understand how to do it, drainage typically takes approximately five to 15 minutes. 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 of draining fluid from the chest 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 of draining fluid from the abdomen 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.