The nurse is caring for a patient with a chest tube. During her rounds, the nurse considers that the chest tube is working properly if she observes:
• Intermittent bubbling is expected in the water-seal chamber. If bubbling is increased or becomes rapid, it may indicate an air leak in the closed drainage system. Rapid bubbling may also indicate a considerable loss of air due to a tear or incision in the pleura.
• Fluid in the water-seal chamber must fluctuate during respiration. This is called
• Fluid in the suction chamber should bubble gently. If there is no bubbling, check to see if the suction tubing is connected and the suction source turned on.