Equipment Quiz 1
This is a Heimlich Valve.
A Heimlich Valve is a useful tool for patients with a chest drain. The valve allows fluid and air to pass in one direction (from the blue end to the clear end) through the valve, but not return.
The valve itself is a soft, collapsible tube with a hole at each end. The blue end is held open by the structure of the valve, allowing air to freely enter it. Under pressure, the air can easily flow through the valve.
Air cannot easily return however. If the patient inspires forcefully, generating a negative pressure in the system, the soft tube will collapse, preventing air entry. Similarly, a build up of pressure at the distal end compresses the tube.
Heimlich Valves are not ideal in circumstances where there is a large leak of air, or there is a large volume of pleural drainage. In these circumstances, formal drains are recommended.