The Impact of Using Ice on Quality of Pain Associated with Chest Drain Removal in Postcardiac Surgery Patients: An Evidence-Based Care

The Open Nursing Journal 31 December 2018 DOI: 10.2174/1874434601812010264



Patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery require the placement of at least one chest drain. Chest Drain Removal (CDR) has been considered to be a painful event in patient’s postoperative recuperation.


This study aimed to evaluate the impact of using ice on quality of pain associated with CDR in adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery

Materials and Methods:

This randomized, observer-blind, crossover trial was done on 51 post-cardiac surgery patients who had two chest drains in the Mashhad Heart Center in Iran. The patients were assigned to ice, placebo, and control groups. Ice and placebo bags were used over the region around the chest drains for 20 minutes prior to CDR. The quality of pain was assessed via Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) before and after CRT. The data were analyzed through the SPSS software using ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis, and Chi-square tests.


The study findings revealed that the three groups were not significantly different regarding pain quality before CDR (p=0.24). However, the ice bag group (4.6±4.4) was significantly different from the placebo (8.1±6.9) and control groups (7.1±5.3) concerning the pain quality score immediately after CDR (p<0.05). The results of chi-square test also showed that the three groups were significantly different regarding “hot-burning” (p=0.009). However, no significant differences were observed with regard to other items of SF-MPQ.


The results indicated that ice bag application could be used as an effective, safe, and inexpensive non-pharmacological intervention to reduce patients’ pain and increase their comfort during CDR.

Keywords: Chest drain removal, Thoracostomy, Ice, Quality of pain, Postcardiac surgery, Cardiac surgery.
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