Digital chest drain system could save NHS £8.5M

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued medical technology guidance recommending Medela’s Thopaz+ for managing chest drains.

Thopaz+ is a portable chest drain and digital monitoring system that applies negative pressure as needed and continuously monitors air leakage and fluid drainage. NICE states that the device should be considered for people who need chest drainage after pulmonary resection or due to a pneumothorax.

Chest surgery usually requires the insertion of a chest drain in between the organs and the chest wall. The devices are painful as the space where they are inserted have very sensitive areas.  Patients require regular pain relief for comfort and to allow them to complete physiotherapy or mobilisation.

The benefits of Thopaz+ include shortage drainage times and a shorter length of stay in hospitals following pulmonary resection. Due to the time savings, the device’s cost savings were estimated to be £111 per patient.

An impact assessment by NICE anticipates that the adoption of Thopaz+ is expected to save around £8.5 million every year in England.

Paul Furlong, managing director for Medela in the UK, said: “We are delighted NICE and the Appraisal Committee has reached this decision. The positive conclusion is testament to the value, cost-effectiveness and innovation Thopaz+ brings to the chest drainage paradigm.”

NICE stated: “The case for adopting Thopaz+ for managing chest drains is supported by the evidence. Thopaz+ can reduce drainage time and length of stay in hospital and improves safety for people with chest drains. Its use may also improve clinical decision-making through continuous, objective monitoring of air leaks and fluid loss.”


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Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age, Medical Plastics News, European Pharmaceutical Magazine and Med-Tech Innovation. He has a MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. His interests include health, technology, videogames and he is a keen performer of live original music. He can be contacted at reece.armstrong@rapidnews.com


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