To determine the amount of negative pressure generated by syringes of various sizes with and without an attached thoracostomy tube and whether composition of thoracostomy tubes altered the negative pressure generated.
Syringes ranging from 1 to 60 mL and 4 thoracostomy tubes of various compositions (1 red rubber catheter, 1 polyvinyl tube, and 2 silicone tubes).
A syringe or syringe with attached thoracostomy tube was connected to a pneumatic transducer. Each syringe was used to aspirate a volume of air 10 times. Negative pressure generated was measured and compared among the various syringe sizes and various thoracostomy tubes.
The negative pressure generated decreased as size of the syringe increased for a fixed volume across syringes. Addition of a thoracostomy tube further decreased the amount of negative pressure. The red rubber catheter resulted in the least amount of negative pressure, followed by the polyvinyl tube and then the silicone tubes. There was no significant difference in negative pressure between the 2 silicone tubes. The smallest amount of negative pressure generated was −74 to −83 mm Hg.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Limited data are available on the negative pressure generated during intermittent evacuation of the thoracic cavity. For the present study, use of a syringe of ≥ 20 mL and application of 1 mL of negative suction volume resulted in in vitro pressures much more negative than the currently recommended pressure of −14.71 mm Hg for continuous suction. Additional in vitro or cadaveric studies are needed.