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Anaesthesia. 1999 Jul;54(7):674-8.

Life-threatening airway obstruction caused by a retropharyngeal haematoma.

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John Farman Intensive Care Unit, Department of Radiology, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.


We present the case of a 68-year-old woman who had a large cervicomediastinal haematoma that caused life-threatening airway obstruction. Retropharyngeal haematoma may occur in any age group and following a variety of causes. Retropharyngeal haematomas must be considered as a cause of airway obstruction following common injuries such as blunt cervical trauma or internal jugular vein cannulation. A high index of suspicion and early lateral neck X-ray is essential for safe management of this rare but potentially life-threatening injury.

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