A UK hospital has introduced portable chest drainage systems into three of its respiratory wards to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital announced it will use 10 Thopaz+ devices, manufactured by Swiss firm Medela Healthcare, to monitor air leaks in collapsed lung patients.

The portability of the Thopaz+ system will remove the risk of patients being disconnected while having their chest drained of air or fluid, and it will also help reduce Covid-19-related air contamination during this process.

The system is being rolled out across Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s respiratory wards having previously received positive feedback from surgeons while being deployed in its cardiothoracic unit.

Dr Amrithraj Bhatta, a respiratory specialist at the hospital, said: “I believe it will help us manage air leak effectively and give us greater confidence in managing these patients.

“It also has many patient benefits, such as enabling early removal of chest drains, reducing their stay in hospital and helping patients with their mobility.

“We are delighted to have introduced Thopaz+ on our ward and are looking forward to using it as part of our clinical practice.”


Medela Healthcare’s portable chest drainage systems

The Thopaz+ system is made by Medela Healthcare – a medical device company based in Baar, Switzerland, that specialises in medical vacuum technologies, as well as breastmilk feeding products.

According to Medela, the compact, lightweight system is equipped with a convenient carrying handle and is easy to use, providing clinicians with precise data on drainage as it is being carried out in order to help them make informed decisions.

portable chest drainage systems thopaz+
Medela Healthcare’s Thopaz+ chest drainage system (Credit: Medela)

A report published online in 2018 by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) – which offers guidance on health and social care in the UK – also stated that Thopaz+ can reduce chest drainage times, improve patient safety during these procedures, and minimise the length of time patients must stay in hospital for.

In its resource impact assessment, NICE showed that adopting the system at a national level could be expected to save about £8.5m ($11m) per year in England – with a potential saving of £550.90 ($712.18) per patient when used instead of conventional chest drains for respiratory applications specifically.

Rob Rennel, business unit manager at Medela, said: “I am delighted to see that our device is being used in both the cardiothoracic and respiratory wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to not only provide safe and effective chest drain management, but also to help safeguard patients and staff alike against Covid-19.”