The active tube clearance system: a novel bedside chest-tube clearance device

Innovations (Phila). 2010 Jan;5(1):42-7. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e3181cf7ce3.


Objective: : Chest-tube clogging can lead to complications after heart and lung surgery. Surgeons often choose large-diameter chest tubes or place more than one chest tube when concerned about the potential for clogging. The purpose of this report is to describe the design and function of a proprietary active tube clearance system, a novel device that clears clots and debris from chest tubes. DEVICE DESCRIPTION:: The active tube clearance system is a novel chest tube clearance apparatus developed to maintain chest tube patency. Chest tube clearance is achieved by advancing the specially designed clearance member back and forth within the chest tube under sterile conditions, breaking down and pulling clots back toward the drainage receptacle, thereby leaving the inner portion of the chest tube clear of any obstructing material.

Conclusions: : By maintaining chest tube patency, chest tube drainage can be performed more safely, and this apparatus may possibly lead to the use of smaller chest tubes and less invasive insertion techniques.