Reexpansion pulmonary edema: A rare complication of pneumothorax drainage
Department of Emergency Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India
Keywords: Chest tube, pneumothorax, reexpansion pulmonary edema
Among all the noncardiac causes of pulmonary edema, unilateral reexpansion pulmonary edema is one of the rarest complication of expansion of a collapsed lung. It is largely unknown and a potentially fatal complication. We present the case of a 51-year-old gentleman who presented to our emergency department with shortness of breath. X-ray revealed significant right-sided pneumothorax with associated collapse of the right lung. An intercostal tube was inserted into the right 5th intercostal space and a repeat X-ray revealed well-expanded lung field. Soon, the patient developed increased shortness of breath and hypoxia. Repeat X-ray was suggestive of pulmonary edema. He was started on noninvasive positive pressure ventilation and responded well to it. Emergency physicians should have a high index of suspicion and initiate early management of reexpansion pulmonary edema in patients suffering from pneumothoraces which have undergone drainage.
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Sarda S is the principal author. All other coauthors have contributed toward the critical feedback, literature review, and proof reading for the manuscript.