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Chest. 2014 Oct;146(4):1007-1012. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-3004.

Comparison of pleural pressure measuring instruments.

Author information

The Division Pulmonary/Critical Care, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:
The Division Pulmonary/Critical Care, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.
The Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
The Department of Pulmonary/Critical Care, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA.
Section of Interventional Pulmonology, and the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.



The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy of a handheld digital manometer (DM) and U-tube (UT) manometer with an electronic transducer (ET) manometer during thoracentesis.


Thirty-three consecutive patients undergoing thoracentesis were enrolled in the study. Pleural pressure (Ppl) measurements were made using a handheld DM (Compass; Mirador Biomedical), a UT water manometer, and an ET (reference instrument). End-expiratory Ppl was recorded after catheter insertion, after each aspiration of 240 mL, and prior to catheter removal. Volume of fluid removed, symptoms during thoracentesis, pleural elastance, and pleural fluid chemistry were also evaluated.


A total of 594 Ppl measurements were made in 30 patients during their thoracenteses. There was a strong linear correlation coefficient between elastance for the DM and ET (r = 0.9582, P < .001). Correlation was poor between the UT and ET (r = 0.0448, P = .84). Among the 15 patients who developed cough, recorded ET pressures ranged from -9 to +9 cm H2O at the time of symptom development, with a mean (SD) of -2.93 (4.89) cm H2O. ET and DM measurements among those patients with cough had a low correlation between these measurements (R2 = 0.104, P = .24). Nine patients developed chest discomfort and had ET pressures that ranged from -26 to +6 cm H2O, with a mean (SD) of -7.89 (9.97) cm H2O.


The handheld DM provided a valid and easy-to-use method to measure Ppl during thoracentesis. Future studies are needed to investigate its usefulness in predicting clinically meaningful outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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