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Simulation and Measurement of Aerosolisation in Different Chest Drainage Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Muslim Mustaev, Andrea Bille, Mehdi Hasan, Sheena Garg, Antonia A Pontiki, Omar Darwish, Gianluca Lucchese

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-604
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2021
E-pub ahead of print1 Jun 2021
Published1 Jun 2021

King's Authors


The aim of the study was to assess the degree of aerosolisation in different chest drainage systems according to different air leak volumes, in a simulated environment. This novel simulation model was designed to produce an air leak by passing air through and agitating a fluorescent fluid. The air leak volume and amount of fluorescent fluid were tested in various combinations and aerosolisation was assessed at 10-minute intervals using the ultraviolet light. The following chest drainage systems were compared: (1) single-chamber chest drainage system, (2) 3-compartment wet-dry suction chest drainage system, (3) digital drainage and monitoring system. The impact of suction (-2 and -4 kPa) in generating aerosolised particles was tested as well. A total number of 187 of 10-minute interval measurements were performed. The single-chamber chest drainage system generated the largest number of aerosolised particles at different air leak volumes and drainage output. The 3-compartment wet-dry suction system and the digital drainage and monitoring system did not generate any identifiable aerosolised particles at any of the air leak or drain output volumes considered. Suction applied to the chest drainage systems did not have an effect on aerosolisation. Aerosol generation in the simulated air-leak model demonstrated the potential risk of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the clinical setting. Full personal protective equipment must be used in patients with an air leak. Single-chamber chest drainage system generates the highest rate of aerosolised particles and it should not be used as an open system in patients with an air leak.

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