• The mechanism of obstruction of closed-wound drainage tubing was investigated by means of coagulation tests performed on wound drainage fluid and by examination of the contents of the tubes after their removal. Although clotting is commonly thought to be responsible for the obstruction, the wound drainage fluid was found to be essentially incoagulable and little fibrin was evident within the tubes. By contrast, bits of tissue were frequently found within the tubes, and these frequently virtually occluded the lumen. This observation, that tissue fragments are responsible for tube obstruction, permits a rational approach to the solution of this problem. For example, meticulous wound flushing and irrigation, or perhaps tubing of different design, might lead to a reduced incidence of tube failure.
(Arch Surg 114:614-615, 1979)