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Digital Chest Drain Helps Prevent Cross-Contamination

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 28 Dec 2020
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Image: The Thopaz+ digital chest drainage and monitoring system (Photo courtesy of Medela)
Image: The Thopaz+ digital chest drainage and monitoring system (Photo courtesy of Medela)
An innovative chest drainage and monitoring system effectively impedes aerosolized viral and bacterial particles from spreading.

The Medela (McHenry, IL, USA) Thopaz+ Digital Chest Drainage and Monitoring System is a compact, lightweight device with a convenient carrying handle and a long-life battery that support patient recovery and outcomes by providing uninterrupted drainage in care settings, including those without access to central vacuum. Thopaz+ also provides continuous and objective monitoring of air leaks, fluid drainage, and pressure on a digital display, with trends over time. Detachable canisters with an integrated hydrophilic overflow and bacteria filter ensure safe and simple collection of fluids.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, chest drains were considered a potential source of cross-contamination via aerosol generated particles, contributing to safety concerns for patients and staff. Thopaz+ filters are proven to effectively block passage of aerosolized viral particles as small as 25 nm; in comparison, SARS-CoV-2 is about 125 nm in diameter, while other common hospital-acquired infection (HAI) pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Serratia marcescens, are approximately 500 nm in diameter.

“We understand the critical need for a solution like Thopaz+ that can help healthcare professionals provide safer cardiothoracic drainage and reduce cross contamination, as well as healthcare-associated infections, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Melissa Gonzales, RN, BSN, executive vice president of Medela Americas. “With its intuitive, easy-to-use design and filtration capabilities, Thopaz+ was developed to meet the evolving needs of healthcare professionals and patients, and simplify use while improving health outcomes and reduce costs.”

“Despite the pandemic crisis, we have to provide our cancer patients with the best postoperative care while protecting health care professionals and other patients,” said thoracic surgeon Andrea Bille, MD, of Guy's Hospital (London, United Kingdom). “Thopaz digital drains facilitate early mobilization and recovery, but also minimize the risk of aerosolized generated particles, preventing the spread of the coronavirus.”

A chest drain is a tube inserted through the chest wall between the ribs and into the pleural cavity to allow drainage of air (pneumothorax), blood (haemothorax), fluid (pleural effusion), or pus (empyema) out of the chest.

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