Caring for Your UreSil Thoracic Vent

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

About Your Thoracic Vent

Your thoracic vent is a small device that is connected to your chest. It has a one-way valve that lets extra air out of your chest, allowing your lung to fully expand. It is secured with adhesive wings but may also be sutured (stitched) in place. You may be discharged from the hospital with a thoracic vent if you have an air leak that lasts for 7 or more days.

The parts of your vent

Your vent is made up of 2 parts: the chamber and the adhesive wings. The 2 adhesive wings are located on both sides of the chamber and hold it in place (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Thoracic vent

Within the chamber, there is a red signal diaphragm, which 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 if this happens.

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How to Care For Your Thoracic Vent

  • Your thoracic vent should touch your body directly. No part of the catheter (tube) should be visible. If the adhesive wings start to separate from your skin, secure them with tape. Do not put tape on the vent chamber.
  • Do not change the position or remove your thoracic vent at any time. If your vent moves out of place, call your doctor right away. They may instruct you to go to the Urgent Care Center (UCC) at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) or to the closest hospital emergency room. In the meantime, you can put the Vaseline® gauze that you received at discharge over the site with clean, dry gauze on top of it. Tape them to your skin.
  • 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, you may need to 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 go to clinic.

Showering with your vent

You may shower with soap and water as usual while wearing your vent. While showering, the vent should be kept dry by taping a plastic bag over it or by using the one-time-use waterproof cover given to you by your nurse.

Do not take a tub bath or submerge the area in water.

Exercising with your vent

You may exercise while wearing your thoracic vent. In fact, you should do mild exercises, such as walking and climbing stairs, daily.

You can also do breathing exercises to help expand your lungs, 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.
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Call Your Doctor or Nurse if:

  • The vent becomes separated from your skin.
  • You can see part of the catheter (tube) going into your skin.
  • You have a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher.
  • The vent moves out of place or falls off.
  • 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.
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