New technologies are continually being developed, and although some will fail to show patient benefit and others will fail to be cost-effective, a few can lead to a revolution in patient care. Digital suction has been used by thoracic surgeons for over a decade, but the resulting air-leak data could also be used to predict whether resolution will occur in patients with pneumothorax. Ambulatory pneumothorax management is now possible, and this outpatient care is likely to reduce healthcare costs in this population. However, new devices need to be assessed for safety and efficacy before they can be recommended in routine clinical practice. Solutions for long-standing common problems such as drain displacement continue to evolve, and extended uses for devices such as IPCs are being proposed. These include a chest drain with an inflatable balloon to prevent displacement, and impregnating an IPC to induce pleurodesis. Whether effective or not, such innovative ideas will continue to push the boundaries of pleural disease management.

Cite as: Mercer RM, Hallifax RJ, Maskell NA. Novel technology: more than just indwelling pleural catheters. In: Maskell NA, Laursen CB, Lee YCG, et al., eds. Pleural Disease (ERS Monograph). Sheffield, European Respiratory Society, 2020; pp. 250–262 [https://doi.org/10.1183/2312508X.10024319].