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A Simple Device to Teach Tube Thoracostomy

Ching, Jessica A. MD; Wachtel, Thomas L. MD, MMM

The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care: June 2011 - Volume 70 - Issue 6 - p 1564-1567
doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318213f5bc
Procedures & Techniques

Background: Chest tube insertion is an important component of medical and surgical education. This article reports a cost-effective and easily reproducible method for hands-on education of tube thoracostomy placement.

Methods: A wood base is constructed, and a large rack of ribs are secured to simulate the thorax. Partially inflated examination gloves and bagels are used to simulate the lung and diaphragm, respectively.

Results: A life-like, cost-efficient thoracostomy model is created allowing for proficiency training in chest tube insertion. According to Advanced Trauma Life Support criteria, 123 military personnel were satisfactory, 4 remedial, and 7 instructor potential using the described model.

Conclusions: We have developed a simple, inexpensive training device for insertion of chest tubes and tested it on 134 military personnel.

From the Department of Surgery (J.A.C.), University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida; and Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Division (T.L.W.), Department of Surgery, Scottsdale Healthcare and the University of Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Submitted for publication January 6, 2011.

Accepted for publication February 3, 2011.

Thomas L. Wachtel, MD, MMM, funded the construction and purchase of the ribs, plastic wrap, and bagels. Scottsdale Healthcare furnished the gloves and examination jelly. The instruments were supplied by the Scottsdale Healthcare and sterilized between uses. Scottsdale Healthcare made the education conference room available in the emergency department.

Address for reprints: Jessica A. Ching, MD, Department of Surgery-USF Health, 2 Tampa General Circle, Room 7016, Tampa, FL 33606; email:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.