Assessment of pleural air leakage using digital chest drainage system after surgical pulmonary resection: Comparison of visible alveolar air leakage with the digital value measured by a digital chest drainage system

Ryo Mori, Koji Yamazaki, Fumihiro Shoji, Hidenori Kouso, Chie Ushijima, Naoko Miura, Tomoyoshi Takenaka, Sadanori Takeo

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Background: The sensitivity of postoperative pleural air leakage (PAL) after pulmonary resection is evaluated by a simple subjective grading method in clinical practice. A new electronic digital chest drainage evaluation system (DCS) recently became clinically available. This study was designed to evaluate the clinical application of the DCS in monitoring the airflow volume and managing postoperative PAL. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 25 patients who underwent pulmonary resection. Postoperative PAL was evaluated using both conventional PAL grading based on the physician’s visual judgment (analog chest drainage evaluation system [ACS]: Level 0 = no leakage to 4 = continuous leakage) and the DCS. The DCS digital measurement was recorded as the flow volume (ml/min), which was taken once daily from postoperative day 1 to the day of chest drainage tube removal. Results: In total, 45 measurements were performed on 25 patients during the evaluation period. Postoperative PAL was observed in five patients (20.0%) and judged as ACS Level >1. The mean DCS values corresponding to ACS Levels 0, 1, 2, and 3 were 2.42 (0.0–11.3), 48.6 (35.4–67.9), 95.6 (79.7–111.5), and 405.3 (150.3–715.6), respectively. The Spearman correlation test showed a significant positive correlation between the ACS PAL level and DCS flow volume (R = 0.8477, p < 0.001). Conclusions: A relationship between the visual PAL level by the ACS and the digital value by the DCS was identified in this study. The numeric volume obtained by the DCS has been successful in information-sharing with all staff. The digital PAL value evaluated by the DCS is appropriate, and the use of the DCS is promising in the treatment of postoperative PAL after pulmonary resection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0187705
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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