Pleuraleak: A Novel Air leak Detection System for Chest Tubes

Dr. Dimitrios Miserlis
Abby Keller
Suzanne Higgins
Max Twedt

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Technology Fields:Medical Devices
Technology ID:265


Chest tubes are implemented to remove fluid and air accumulated in the pleural space as a result of thoracic injury caused by trauma, surgery or cancer (ie., spontaneous pneumothorax and wedge resection. An air-leak, by definition, is air leaking form the lung into the pleural space and then out via the chest catheter. Current chest drainage systems monitor air leaks by visualizing air bubbles within the collection canister and often leave physicians to make uncertain and subjective decisions. Unfortunately, there are no devices capable of detecting air leaks while working with the current systems. Inventors at the University of Nebraska have developed a unique system that integrates into the existing chest tube drainage to quantify pleural air leaks. The Pleuraleak system consists of two fluid sensors, an adaptor, a 3-way connector for the existing wet seal, and a graphical user interface. The first sensor is in direct communication with the chest tube to sense the presence of an air leak, while the second sensor acts as a validation system. The Pleuraleak system can be effectively used to determine if a patient has an air leak, quantify the magnitude and changes of the air leak, and monitor lung healing. Immediate determination of the presence or absence of an air leak in patients with a chest tube results in a more objective evaluation, clinical decision and patient management. Additionally, the Pleuraleak system may allow for earlier and safer removal of a chest tube, reduced patient discomfort or pain, and consequently, shorter hospital stays.


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