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Chest. 2011 Nov;140(5):1351-4. doi: 10.1378/chest.11-0529.

Negative pressure pulmonary edema following bronchospasm.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Negative pressure pulmonary edema (NPPE) is an important cause of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema but is rarely reported in the setting of bronchospasm. A 43-year-old woman with severe reactive airway disease suffered an episode of severe bronchospasm after endotracheal extubation following an otherwise uneventful general anesthetic. Subsequently, she developed clinical and radiographic signs of pulmonary edema in the absence of other symptoms of acute left-sided heart failure, leading to the diagnosis of noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. She received noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for a few hours, after which her clinical and radiologic signs and symptoms of pulmonary edema were greatly improved. This clinical scenario strongly suggests NPPE. We submit that it is possible to create NPPE by generating highly negative intrathoracic pressures in the setting of severe bronchospasm.

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