Background: Thoracic surgical patients have chest drains inserted to enable re-expansion of lungs, to clear contents from the pleural cavity which sometimes require negative suction. Suction impedes mobility, may have variable suction delivery and increases risk of infection. Assessment of air-leak in conventional drains is not scientific and is subjective. Thopaz chest drain system is a portable suction unit which allows mobilization of the patient, with scientific digital flow recordings and an in built alarm system.
Methods: We evaluated the utility, staff and patient feedback of this device in a pilot evaluation in a regional thoracic unit in a structured format over a period of two months. Staff responses were graded on a scale of 1 to 6 [1 Excellent to 6 Poor].
Results: 120 patients who underwent elective bullectomy/pleurectomy, VATS lung biopsies, VATS metastectomy and lung resections were evaluated. The staff feedback forms were positive. The staff liked the system as it was more scientific and accurately recordable. It made nursing and physiotherapy easier as they could mobilise patients early. The patients liked the compact design, weightlessness and the silence. It enabled mobilisation of the patients and scientific removal of chest drain.
Conclusions: Thopaz digital suction units were found to be user friendly and were liked by the staff and patients. The staff feedback stated the devices to be objective and scientific in making decisions about removal and enabled mobilisation.