[The benefits of digital air leak assessment after pulmonary resection: prospective and comparative study]

Cir Esp. 2010 Jun;87(6):385-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ciresp.2010.03.012. Epub 2010 May 8.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Persistent air leaks represent the most common pulmonary complication after elective lung resection. Since there are insufficient data in the literature regarding variability in the withdrawal of postoperative pleural drainages, we have designed a prospective, consecutive and comparative study to evaluate if the use of digital devices (Thopaz and DigiVent) to measure postoperative air leak compared to a Pleur-Evac varies on deciding when to withdraw chest tubes after lung resection.

Methods: A prospective, consecutive and comparative trial was conducted in 75 patients who underwent elective pulmonary resection for non small cell lung cancer. This study compared two digitals devices with the current analogue version in 75 patients. The digital and analogue groups had 26, 24, and 25 patients, respectively.

Results: Clinical population data were not statistically different between the groups. The withdrawal of the chest tube was Thopaz, 2.4 days; Digivent, 3.3 days and PleurEvac, 4.5 days. Patients and nurses were subjectively more comfortable with digital devices. Surgeons obtained more objective information with digital devices. The safety mechanism of the Thopaz was also subjectively better, and one patient was discharged home without complications after one week.

Conclusions: The digital and continuous measurement of air leak instead of the currently used static analogue systems reduced the chest tube withdrawal and hospital stay by more accurately and reproducibly measuring air leak. Intrapleural pressure curves from the Digivent may also help predict the optimal chest tube setting for each patient. The Thopaz alarm mechanism is very useful to prevent deficiencies in the mechanism and do not required wall suction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery
  • Drainage / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonectomy / adverse effects*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies