One of the more impressive products on display at this years Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) conference was the Russell Pneumofix manufactured by Prometheus Deltatech. It is billed as a "Complete Chest Needle Decompression Solution" designed to treat a Tension Pneumothorax (#2 cause of Preventable death on the battlefield), Simple Pneumothorax, and Pleural Effusion.
It's essentially a hybrid of a decompression needle and a chest tube. It is designed with a spring loaded indicator that pushes up when there is resistance and then pops back into position when there is no resistance (entering pleural space). The indicator lets the user know when the pleural lining has been breeched, the spring releases creating a vent to allow trapped air to escape and indicating that it is safe to advance the catheter. This significantly reduces the likelihood of advancing the needle to deeply and damaging vital structures. It is also equipped with a port to hook up a syringe to, it is not yet clear if the 12 gauge, 11cm catheter is sizable enough to permit the evacuation of blood, but it does not bill itself as a solution for Hemothoraces, perhaps the port is to help pull air from the pleural space.
The device is pending FDA approval and I had an opportunity to try it out, albeit on a piece of foam and not a real patient. Another feature I noticed is that the catheter is has fenestrations on the sides to help evacuate air as opposed to a traditional IV catheter having only one on the distal portion. It is radiopaque so that placement can be verified via X-ray.
Do I recommend it?
Where would I use it?
In clinical setting and in field
Will it replace standard 14ga needles in my kit?
In my larger trauma bags YES
in smaller medical bags and Individual First Aid Kit (IFAKS) / blow-out kits NO (based on size)