Introduction: Pleural effusions (PE) are common in critically ill patients managing in intensive care unit (ICU). Recently, various SBCs have been tried to drain PE over chest tube (CT) thoracostomy, because pleural drainage with SBC is less invasive and has less severe complications. Methods: We reviewed medical records of the adult patients who were admitted in the ICUs and selected the patients underwent drainage for PEs. PEs drained with SBCs (7F single lumen central venous catheters) or CT thoracostomy (＞28F). We compared patient characteristics, effectiveness and complications of drainage methods. Results: One hundred sixty one were drained with SBC in 113 patients and 37 were drained with CT in 22 patients. Bilateral drainages were 22/113 (19.5%) and 8/22 (36.4%) in SBC and CT group. In SBC group, there were more patients of transudate (62.2% vs. 31.8%; p=0.016) and heart failure (27.6% Vs 0.5%; p=0.024). In CT group, there were more patients of empyema (2.0% vs. 13.6%; p=0.042) and hemothorax (2.0% Vs. 22.7%; p=0.002). Mean duration of drainage was 8.5±8.7 and 11.4±6.9 days in SBC and CT group (p=0.143). Complication occurred in 8 patients (7%) and 2 patients (9%) in SBC CT group (p=0.103). All 8 in SBC were pneumothorax, 3 was replaced with CT who showed no improvement of pneumothorax. In CT group, catheter infection and subcutaneous emphysema occurred during PE drainage. Conclusions: The use of an indwelling 7F central venous catheter was as efficacious as CT in draining PEs in ICU. It may be helpful to avoid repeated thoracentesis or the use of CT.