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BMJ Case Rep. 2014 May 16;2014. pii: bcr2013203435. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-203435.

A mistaken case of tension pneumothorax.

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  • 1Department of Critical Care Unit, Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, Truro, Cornwall, UK.


The patient was an otherwise usually fit and well 25-year-old man who presented to A&E department in extremis. The initial working diagnosis was a tension pneumothorax, and he was subsequently treated with needle thoracocentesis causing a release of air. A chest radiograph was taken, after which a chest drain was inserted. Bilious fluid was drained from the chest drain. The patient was taken for an emergency CT, which demonstrated a Bochdalek diaphragmatic hernia, with the spleen and bowel found to be causing a near total left lung collapse. He was taken to the theatre to return the bowel to the correct anatomical position, in addition to undergoing a sleeve gastrectomy, and diaphragmatic defect repair. The patient has had a complex and protracted recovery in the intensive therapy unit (ITU) with complications including wound dehiscence, gastrectomy leak requiring additional surgical repair, fluid overload and bilateral pleural empyema.

2014 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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