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J Emerg Med. 2003 Jan;24(1):23-7.

Reexpansion pulmonary edema: a case report and review of the current literature.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


This case report illustrates the presentation and course of reexpansion pulmonary edema (REPE) in a young man with spontaneous pneumothorax. REPE is considered relatively uncommon by most accounts, but in certain clinical circumstances the incidence is much higher. Although supportive therapy is the rule, the condition is far from benign and mortality estimates are as high as 20%. Risk factors, including young age, a large pneumothorax and longer duration of collapse, may help predict which patient will encounter this complication. In patients with these risk factors, the thoracostomy tube should be initially left off suction in an effort to prevent REPE primarily. When REPE is encountered, therapy is supportive.

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