Study Says Digital Chest Drains Shorten Stay and In-dwelling Chest Tube Duration

Air leakage following lung surgery is an occupational hazard for the thoracic surgeon. Now Medela Healthcare, purveyor of one solution, the Thopaz™ digital chest drain, has announced research results showing significantly shorter postoperative length of stay and chest tube duration in patients on whom the device was employed.


Post-thoracic surgery chest drainage can still look like a primitive affair, patients often to be seen dragging around wheeled bottles of exudate. In recent years new options have appeared, although supporting evidence of their effectiveness has been a little thin on the ground.

One developer of a more 21st century solution, Medela Healthcare, offers real time drainage with leak detection, enabling medical professionals to accurately assess leak status. Medela claims its Thopaz system optimizes patient care through pioneering and intelligent, mobile digital chest drainage therapy.

Now results from a recent global study of 400 patients has revealed reduced air leak duration using the Medela system, compared with traditional devices, coupled with improved ability to arise from bed and system convenience for patients and personnel.

Reassuringly, as the first multicenter study of the Medela Thopaz, the results data show global consistency between the different centers

The aim of the study had been to compare the impact of digital chest drainage devices with traditional drainage devices on duration of air leak, chest tube removal and hospital stay after lobectomy/segmentectomy. The multicenter global study was performed at four international centers including the United States (New Haven, Conn.), Europe (U.K. & Italy) and Asia (Hong Kong).

Investigator comments

Presenting the findings for the first time at the Society of Thoracic Surgeons 50th Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL., Professor Frank Detterbeck, MD, chief of thoracic surgery at Yale School of Medicine said, “This randomized trial demonstrates a statistically significant reduction in hospital stay by one whole day through the use of the Thopaz digital chest drainage system.”

Joint lead author, Dr. Alessandro Brunelli, of Ospedali Riuniti, Ancona, Italy, secretary general at European Society of Thoracic Surgeons, said of the study, “The analysis revealed consistent findings between the different participating centers. This represents interesting and novel information proving the ubiquitous efficacy of Thopaz.”

Company comments

Inez Cregan, Ph.D., Medela cardiothoracic research manager, observes that “these findings have confirmed previous investigations performed in single centers that Thopaz is consistently improving patient care. Such studies reinforce Medela’s commitment to research and an evidence-based approach.”

Also presenting his findings in using Thopaz, at this same congress, John C. Wain, MD, assistant professor of surgery, Harvard Medical School, and director, lung transplant program, Massachusetts General Hospital, presented his findings of a separate independent study, where he showed that the research team has been able “to eliminate two x-rays per patient when on Thopaz, subsequently reducing the total cost per patient in doing so.”

Source: Medela Healthcare, PR Newswire

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