An indwelling chest or belly (abdominal) catheter is a soft, flexible tube that runs under your skin to an area next to your lungs or in your belly. One end of the tube stays outside your body.
When fluid builds up around your lung (pleural effusion), it can cause discomfort and make it hard for you to breathe. Other symptoms can include fever or cough.
When fluid collects in the space between the organs in your belly and the belly wall (ascites), you may feel bloated or overly full. Other symptoms of ascites (say "uh-SY-teez") include belly pain and weight gain.
Draining the fluid through a tube helps relieve these symptoms.
“Indwelling” means the tube stays in place for as long as you need it. You don’t have to get a new catheter put in every time fluid builds up. You can drain the fluid at home—or have someone else do it—whenever you need to.
The doctor may use stitches to hold the catheter in place where it exits your body. The site may be sore for a day or two.