NICE confirms treatment and cost benefits of catheter system

Guidance recommends PleurX draining technology for treatment-resistant recurrent ascites

The PleurX catheter drainage system is recommended in new NICE guidance

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has this week published final guidance supporting the use of the PleurX cathether system for improving patients’ quality of life and cutting costs.

The report concluded that the technology, supplied by UK Medical, could save the NHS £900,000 a year and should be considered for use in all patients with treatment-resistant recurrent malignant ascites, the name given to the build up of excess fluid between the membranes that line the abdominal wall. This can be a symptom of different types of cancers including ovarian cancer.

The PleurX catheter drainage system is inserted into a patient’s abdominal space and works by enabling fluid build-up to drain out into a vacuum bottle. Evidence from the NICE guidance suggested that using the system could improve patient’s quality of life, reduce complications and save the NHS around £679 per patient.

Another plus for the device is that it can be used in the patient’s own home, freeing up space in hospitals and giving patients more freedom.

Consultant radiologist, Dr Laasch, an expert PleurX advisor for the NICE review, said: "We have now been able to offer PleurX drainage for treatment-resistant recurrent ascites for three years. It has turned out to be one of the simplest procedures that has made the biggest difference.

“It has given independence back to patients who might otherwise spend 10-15 days per month in hospital, simply to drain the accumulating fluid. Furthermore it has been an additional bonus to find that - as a new technology - it is cheaper than traditional inpatient drainage and vacates large numbers of inpatient beds for patients awaiting other treatment."

Lisa Peck, gynaecological cancer clinical nurse specialist for 3 Counties Cancer Network, uses PleurX to treat patients and said: “The insertion of semi-permanent drains for management of malignant ascites has had a huge impact on the quality of life for some of our patients. I am delighted that NICE has approved Pleurx for this purpose.”

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