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Innovations (Phila). 2012 Sep-Oct;7(5):354-8. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e31827e2b4d.

The PleuraFlow Active Chest Tube Clearance System: initial clinical experience in adult cardiac surgery.

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Research Center and Department of Surgery, Montreal Heart Institute/Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada.



To address the clinical consequences related to chest tube clogging, a novel chest drainage apparatus, the PleuraFlow Active Tube Clearance System (Clear Catheter Systems, Bend, OR), was developed. The aim of this world's first clinical experience study was to follow clinicians using the PleuraFlow system to assess usability issues and potential areas of improvement in the heart surgery setting.


A user preference study was conducted to assess how specified users (surgeons, nurses, and intensive care physicians) used the PleuraFlow system to achieve specified goals in an efficient manner. Data were collected from patient charts and by a questionnaire that they had filled.


All the surgeons (n = 7) noted that the device was not any more difficult to insert than a conventional chest tube and was easy to assemble and use. There were no reports of malfunction or complications related to the installation or use of the system. A majority, 77% (24/31), of nurses felt that the device was more time efficient than stripping, milking, or tapping the chest tubes to keep them open. A majority (16/19, 84%) of the PleuraFlow chest tubes and guide tubes were removed together in one piece within 1 day of surgery (on postoperative day 1).


Overall, the physicians and nurses rated the PleuraFlow system positively for its ability to be incorporated into the postoperative workflow of managing the drainage of patients after heart surgery. This device may be useful to allow caregivers to be certain that chest tubes are functioning in the early hours after surgery, when active bleeding is resolving and when complications from undrained blood can ensue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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