Use of the heimlich valve in a compact autotransfusion device

Eugene J. Schweitzer, Jerome M. Hauer, Kenneth G. Swan, James R. Bresch, John W. Harmon, Geoffrey M. Graeber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A compact device which evacuates blood from a hemothorax and facilitates rapid autotransfusion was evaluated in dogs. Experimental hemothorax was established surgically by incising the internal mammary artery through a thoracotomy with the animals under general anesthesia. Postoperatively the blood was drained by one of two methods. In the Heimlich valve group (w = 5), blood was drained by a chest tube through a one-way flutter valve into a collapsible plastic bag. In the Sorenson group (n = 5), blood was drained by a chest tube into the Sorenson Autotransfusion System. Blood from these two groups was then autotransfused. In the control group (n = 5), the drained blood was not autotransfused. Results showed no statistical difference between the two autotransfusion groups in the volume of blood collected, circulating fibrinogen levels, platelet counts, stroma-free hemoglobin levels, prothrombin time, or 51Cr-labeled RBC survival. There was a significant drop in the circulating platelet count, which returned to normal by 24 hours, in both groups of dogs which were autotransfused. We conclude that autotransfusion of blood collected by a compact device which utilizes a Heimlich valve and requires no suction is similar to using the Sorenson Autotransfusion System. It may be safe to use the Heimlich valve to collect blood for autotransfusion in clinical situations, where its qualities of simplicity, portability and a minimum requirement for storage space are desirable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-542
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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