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J Emerg Med. 2013 Jun;44(6):1097-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.11.004. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Pulmonary migration of a fragment of plastic coating sheared from a stylet.

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1
Saint Joseph University Medical School, Hotel-Dieu de France Hospital, Naccach Boulevard, Beirut, Lebanon.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In trauma patients, particularly with head immobilization, tracheal intubation without the use of a stylet may be impossible.

OBJECTIVES:

To report a very rare but potentially fatal complication that may happen in any Emergency Department: fracture of the plastic sheath of an intubation stylet, reported only twice before in the literature.

CASE REPORT:

Two large plastic fragments detached from a stylet while intubating a trauma patient. One piece was removed from the endotracheal tube a few hours later in the operating room. The second fragment migrated asymptomatically into the pulmonary airway. It was successfully retrieved from the right bronchus 24 h later.

CONCLUSION:

This potentially life-threatening event may go unnoticed after intubation if the endotracheal tube is not obstructed by the fragment. Gentle withdrawal of the stylet from the tube is essential to avoid stylet fracture. Careful examination of the stylet after intubation may suggest a stylet fracture.

PMID:
23332801
DOI:
10.1016/j.jemermed.2012.11.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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