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Care of the UreSil Thoracic Vent

This information describes how to care for your UreSil® Thoracic Vent.

A thoracic vent is a small device that is connected to your chest. It may be sutured (stitched) in place. It has a one-way valve that lets extra air out of your chest, allowing your lung to fully expand. You may be discharged from the hospital with a thoracic vent if you have a prolonged air leak. 

Instructions for Care

  • The thoracic vent should touch your body directly. No part of the catheter should be visible. The vent has two adhesive “wings” that hold it in place. If the wings start to separate from your skin, secure them with tape. Do not put tape on the vent chamber.
  • Do not adjust the position or remove the vent at any time.
  • Do not place a dressing over the vent chamber. You may cover it for a short time, only while you shower. 
  • On rare occasions, the vent may begin to drain fluid. If this happens, immediately contact your doctor's office. If the vent is draining fluid, we may connect it to a drainage bag. To remove the fluid, open the valve at the bottom of the drainage bag and pour it into the toilet. This process will be reviewed with you if fluid starts to drain.
  • Your doctor or nurse will inspect your thoracic vent once a week when you come to clinic.
  • The red signal diaphragm tells your doctor and nurse the status of your lung. When the diaphragm stays in the downward position for about 1 hour, your lung may have fully expanded. Please notify your nurse or doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if the thoracic vent is dislodged?

Call your doctor's office if:

  • The vent becomes separated from your skin.
  • You can see part of the catheter (tube) going into your skin.

If the vent becomes completely dislodged from your chest:

  • Place a Vaseline® gauze that you were given at discharge over the site. Put dry sterile gauze on top. Tape it to your skin.
  • Call your doctor's office at the number listed below right away. Your doctor or nurse may instruct you go to the Urgent Care Center (UCC) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) or to the closest hospital emergency room.

Can I shower with the thoracic vent in place?

Yes, you can shower as usual using soap and water. While showering, the vent should be kept dry by using a one-time-use waterproof cover or by taping a plastic bag over it. The waterproof cover or plastic bag must be removed immediately after showering.

Do not take a tub bath.

What activities can I do while I have a thoracic vent?

  • Increase your activities as much as you can
    • Take frequent walks
    • You can climb stairs
  • Do your breathing exercises, including:
    • Coughing and deep breathing
    • Using an incentive spirometer every 2 hours when you are awake
    • Using an Acapella or Flutter valve if one has been ordered for you

What activities must I avoid while I have a thoracic vent?

  • Until your doctor or nurse tells you it is safe:
    • Do not fly
    • Do not drive a car
    • Do not carry any items heavier than 5 pounds
    • Do not immerse yourself in water. Do not go swimming or take a tub bath.

Call Your Doctor or Nurse if:

  • You have a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • The vent becomes dislodged or removed
  • You have new chest pain or shortness of breath
  • The area near the insertion site becomes red or puffy, or feels warm and painful when you touch it
  • You have pain that is not relieved by your pain medication
  • The vent is collecting blood or other fluid
  • You have questions or concerns