Tamponade Relief by Active Clearance of Chest Tubes

Ann Thorac Surg. 2016 Mar;101(3):1159-63. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2015.10.098.


Purpose: Chest tubes are used in every case of cardiac surgery to evacuate shed blood from around the heart and lungs. Chest tubes can become partially or totally occluded, leading to tamponade. The purpose of this article is to discuss a novel method of maintaining chest tube patency in the early recovery after cardiothoracic surgery.

Description: The PleuraFlow Active Clearance Technology is a system to prevent chest tube clogging that can be used to help routinely maintain chest tube patency at the bedside in the intensive care unit.

Evaluation: A patient exhibited physiologic tamponade that was confirmed by transthoracic echocardiography. The chest tube was successfully reopened by actively clearing the chest tube using Active Clearance Technology, resulting in resolution of the tamponade.

Conclusions: The present study reports the case of a patient with massive postoperative pericardial effusion with tamponade, successfully managed by active clearance chest tube. Further studies will help define the role for this technology in routine cardiac surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Tamponade / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiac Tamponade / etiology
  • Cardiac Tamponade / therapy*
  • Chest Tubes*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Stenosis / surgery*
  • Drainage / instrumentation*
  • Drainage / methods
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Safety
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Infarction / surgery
  • Pericardial Effusion / diagnostic imaging
  • Pericardial Effusion / etiology*
  • Pericardial Effusion / therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome