• Each hemithorax can hold 40% of circulating blood volume

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Thoracic Trauma


  • CXR
    • Upright - Fluid collections >200-300cc can usually be seen
    • Supine - Fluid collections >1000cc can be missed
    • Mainstem bronchus intubation can appear like a hemothorax on CXR
  • US
  • CT is gold standard


Adult Chest Tube Sizes

Chest Tube Size Type of Patient Underlying Causes
Small (8-14 Fr)
  • Alveolar-pleural fistulae (small air leak)
  • Iatrogenic air
Medium (20-28 Fr)
  • Bronchial-pleural fistulae (large air leak)
  • Malignant fluid
Large (36-40 Fr)
  • Bleeding (Hemothorax/hemopneumothorax)
  • Thick pus

See Also