Heimlich valve

Last revised by Brian Gilcrease-Garcia on 31 Dec 2018

The Heimlich valve, also known as the flutter valve, is a unidirectional valve to ensure that gas/fluid drained from the pleural space cannot flow back in. 

The Heimlich valve is cheap, easy to use, and does not require clamping unlike 'traditional' thoracostomy drainage tubes. Suction can still be applied as necessary. Complication rates are low.

History and etymology

Henry Heimlich (1920-2016) 2, was an American thoracic surgeon who first described his eponymous valve in an article published in 1965 3. More famously, he was also the developer of the Heimlich maneuver 1.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: with hemopneumothorax
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