The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Insertion of endobronchial valves for treatment of persistent air leaks.


Persistent air leaks from the lungs can occur after chest surgery or injury, or because of underlying lung disease. Leakage of air into the area between the lung and rib cage can lead to collapse of the lung and difficulty breathing. To prevent this, a chest drain (a tube inserted through the skin and rib cage) may be temporarily used to remove the air. In some cases the air leak does not seal and alternative treatments are needed such as surgery or inserting a foam or gel to seal the leak.

Endobronchial valves are a possible treatment for patients with air leaks for whom the usual treatments have not worked or for those unable to have surgery.

Coding and clinical classification codes for this guidance

Your responsibility

This guidance represents the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, healthcare professionals are expected to take this guidance fully into account, and specifically any special arrangements relating to the introduction of new interventional procedures. The guidance does not override the individual responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or guardian or carer. 

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to implement the guidance, in their local context, in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations. Nothing in this guidance should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties. Providers should ensure that governance structures are in place to review, authorise and monitor the introduction of new devices and procedures.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)