Tools and resources

1 Introduction

1 Introduction

This resource provides practical information and advice on the NICE medical technologies guidance on Thopaz+ portable digital system for managing chest drains.

NICE's adoption team worked with contributors who use Thopaz+ in NHS organisations to gather their learning and experiences. Contributors acknowledged that Thopaz+ has been widely adopted for thoracic surgery, and other specialities are now beginning to adopt it. It is anticipated that the learning shared in this adoption resource could be applicable and useful to a variety of specialities.

The information presented in this resource is intended solely to support the NHS in adopting, further researching or evaluating the use of this technology. It is complementary to the medical technologies guidance and was not considered by the committee when developing its recommendations.

Thopaz+ (Medela UK) is a portable digital chest drain system that provides regulated negative pressure close to the patient's chest and continuously monitors and records air leak and fluid drainage. There are more details about the technology in section 2 of the guidance.

The benefits of using Thopaz+ compared with conventional chest drains as reported by the NHS staff involved in producing this resource, include:

  • shorter chest drainage time and length of hospital stay

  • continuous objective monitoring of air leaks and fluid loss, which helps inform when to remove the drain or when to offer alternative management strategies

  • digital readouts during hospitalisation making it easier to accurately document and monitor air and fluid loss

  • increased comfort, because it lets people move with the drain in place

  • increased staff efficiency and available nursing time

  • more accurate and safe suction

  • better safety through alerts for large losses and blockages

  • faster set-up (because there is no underwater seal)

  • fewer drain canister changes needed

  • less risk of drainage fluid re-entering the thoracic cavity through the 1-way valve.

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