Effective Chest Drainage after Cardiac Surgery Begins in the Operating Room

“I think, like everything, you can perform excellent cardiac surgery with somewhat less sophisticated devices. And it certainly helps if you have the option to use these newer devices, because we are heading towards a world where everything is more digitalized and more controlled."

–  Professor Beat H. Walpoth, Geneva University Hospitals

Surgeons of the University Hospital of Verona have published a study entitled "Novel, digital, chest drainage system in cardiac surgery" which compared the Thopaz+ digital chest drainage and monitoring system with a traditional underwater seal drain in a randomized control trial1. The study data shows the advantages of the early onset of chest drainage using Thopaz+ and additional benefits for cardiac surgeons and their patients. Professor Beat H. Walpoth from Geneva University Hospital in Switzerland, co-author of the study, contributed some insights from his daily practice in an interview.

Please follow the link (for download of publication) at the end of this page to read the original publication or find a brief summary below:

  • Higher fluid collection during the post-operative phase and transport
  • Reduction of time and bottlenecks in the ICU
  • Safe therapy
  • High satisfaction

Higher fluid collection during the post-operative phase and transport...

...due to continuous drainage from the operating room to chest tube removal

Continuous drainage from the operating room to chest tube removal leads to more efficient drainage and the removal of the tube on average 9 hours sooner. This early chest‐tube removal impacts favorably on pain and pulmonary function. The digital fluid recording and trending analysis on the Thopaz+ display give the surgeon confidence as to when the tube can be removed safely and therefore implies a reduced number of days until discharge. Professor Walpoth from Geneva University Hospital states that “Some of the patients in certain hospitals remain on the ICU until the tubes are removed, which is a question of cost and space. Some other units transfer the patients with the [traditional] tubes onto the ward. This is complicated and bulky“. With Thopaz+ the patient receives more comfortable and safe therapy.

Reducing time and bottlenecks in the ICU...

...due to integrated suction source

Patients are usually kept in the ICU due to central vacuum access necessary for underwater seal drainages, but with Thopaz+ there is no longer a need to do that. With its integrated suction source, the device does not depend on central vacuum access. The authors of the publication suggest that chest drain management with Thopaz+ could also have an impact on the cost especially by reducing time and bottlenecks in the ICU.

Safe therapy...

...due to system alarms

Several alarms on the Thopaz+ support safe therapy and facilitate treatment decisions: "Importantly, the alarms implemented on the Thopaz+ system (tube occlusion, massive air leakage, massive fluid leakage, canister full, clogged filter, low battery) can be life‐saving for the patient, especially when considering a disconnection of the tubing with a massive air leak or a drainage tube occlusion with the possibility of clot formation leading to a tamponade", as stated in the publication. Professor Walpoth additionally underlines the importance of the alarm function that detects chest drain air leakage: “In cardiac surgery you very seldom have an air leak. Much more in thoracic, but still it can happen and then you can check this easily using Thopaz+“.

High satisfaction...

...as Thopaz+ is quiet, small and smart

In addition to the above points, Thopaz+ brings further advantages, which contribute to the satisfaction of the healthcare professional and the patient. The satisfaction assessment of the new system by the staff revealed a higher score when compared with the conventional wall suction chest drainage system. Professor Walpoth highlights that Thopaz+ “works very well without the noisy chest drain bubbling”. Compared to water seal drains which produce a noise level of 65 dB(A), Thopaz+ is very quiet at only 35 dB(A). Patients appreciate that the device is a small and portable chest drainage system, which make it simpler to carry around. The battery operation also encourages patient mobility, which is important for early recovery.


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Thopaz+ takes chest drainage therapy to a new level of care

  • Thopaz+ reduces chest tube duration and length of stay (in hospital).
  • Improves safety for people with chest drains.
  • Improves clinical decision-making through continuous objective monitoring of air leaks and fluid loss.
  • Increases patient mobility.
  • Clinical staff find Thopaz+ more convenient and easier to use than conventional chest drainage systems.
  • Visit our FAQ for more information about safe chest drain management.

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1 Barozzi L, Biagio LS, Meneguzzi M, et al. Novel, digital, chest drainage system in cardiac surgery. J Card Surg. 2020;35:1492–1497