The Pleuratech Story

Innovative medical instrument design

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the development of the Pleuratech KatGuide confirms this old saying.
The Pleuratech KatGuide was inspired by a need to overcome the difficulty in placing chest drains accurately in the pleural cavity.
Thoracic surgeon Dr. Niels Katballe, who is one half of the Pleuratech development team, began searching for a solution to an issue he faced often in the surgical theater.

A doctor who knew just what he needed

Dr. Katballe works in the heart and lung department at the Aarhus University hospital, Skejby in Denmark. As a thoracic surgeon, Dr. Katballe had experienced the problem first-hand.
“As an innovator, my main motivation was to solve a known medical issue. As a surgeon, I realized the potential for a tool that would help both experts and less experienced surgeons to do a better job treating patients,” Dr. Katballe says.

A tool for placing drains safely and accurately

“It´s difficult to place the drain in the exact right spot with your hands. Difficulties are intensified in, for example, obese patients, patients with large mammae and patients with severe subcutaneous emphysema. These factors (among others) increase the risk of lung perforation and malplacement of any kind.
“What was needed was a tool that could guide the drain gently and accurately to the precise spot where it was needed,” Dr. Katballe says.

The dream – medical tool designer -- team

The combination of Dr. Niels Katballe’s expertise in thoracic surgery and Peter Heydorn’s expertise in engineering and business development made for the perfect team.
The two friends’ professional and personal compatibility contributed to a smooth and successful project. Clinical issues were handled by the surgeon and technical and business issues were handled by senior mechanical engineer Peter Heydorn, but always in close collaboration. All the details and implications were always taken into account.

Use the best team, get the best results

The perfect teamwork between not only the Pleuratech founders, but also between Pleuratech and Aarhus University Hospital and a large number of companies specializing in various aspects of the process made the solution to a clinical problem come true.
The guiding principle was always to collaborate with specialists in their field, so the outcome would be of the absolute highest quality in every aspect of the device.

The result was the Pleuratech KatGuide. With its unique curved shape specifically designed for this type of surgery, it allows the surgeon to locate the precise correct spot and then guide the drain right to it via the KatGuide.