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Guidance device for optimized directional placement of chest tubes

A plastic device to guide directional placement of chest tubes. Unlike chest tube placement without guidance when using kelly clamps for stability, the chest tube guidance device places the tube in its intended intrathoracic direction correctly in the first instance, thereby avoiding repeat procedures and injury.

Technology Overview:

Drainage of air or fluid/blood accumulating in the pleural or chest cavity is required 5,000-10,000 times per year in the fields of trauma surgery, cardiaothoracic surgery, and emergency medicine. This is achieved through insertion of a chest tube into the thoracic cavity, with the tube ideally directed towards the apex of the lung to drain air, or towards the base to drain fluid or blood and to minimize tissue damage and reduce blood clots. However, this position is often not achieved because surgeons are blind to the motion of the chest tube once the tube is inside the thoracic cavity.

Clinicians often use kelly clamps to stabilize the tube, but this directing force is limited to the incision site. When there is misplacement of a chest tube, an additional chest tube must be placed and in some cases major surgery is required to remove blood clots. This leads to increased procedures, morbidity/mortality and costs.

To overcome these challenges, an L-shaped plastic chest tube introducer can be used to guide the chest tube into an optimal placement once inside the chest without interacting with the lungs and other tissues. The chest tube guidance device consists of an inner compartment and an external support. Once the guidance device is inserted, the inner component is removed and replaced with the chest tube, which is advanced and guided towards its intended direction inside the chest.

The guidance device consists of a grip with handles (for the physician to direct chest tube placement while inside the intrathoracic cavity) and the attached plastic tube with inner and outer compartments. 


  • Higher confidence when placing chest tubes
  • Reduced need for multiple tube placements and, in some cases, surgery to repair damage
  • Less costly (when accounting for multiple placements and/or surgery)


Introducing chest tubes into the body

Stage of Development:

  • Computer models of the device have been generated
  • Sterile devices and clinical trials are in development

Intellectual Property:

Provisional patent filed

Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Shariq Raza

Docket # 18-8703

For Information, Contact:

Jeffrey James
Associate Director, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania


Medical Devices