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J Emerg Med. 2014 Jan;46(1):31-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.05.062. Epub 2013 Sep 17.

Spontaneous tracheal rupture: a case report.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Nevada Residency in Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada.
2
Department of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, University of Nevada Residency in Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada.
3
Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Nevada Residency in Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada.
4
Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Nevada Residency in Emergency Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Upper-airway disruption is a rare but potentially life-threatening phenomenon. It can occur spontaneously, be due to trauma, or be iatrogenically induced. Even more rare are such events reported in the pediatric population.

OBJECTIVE:

This article discusses the presentation, diagnostic difficulties, and management of spontaneous tracheal rupture in a child.

CASE REPORT:

A 3-year-old boy was brought by emergency medical services to our emergency department with a presumptive diagnosis of anaphylaxis. With progressive swelling and respiratory distress, the patient quickly deteriorated. He received i.v. epinephrine, chest compressions, and bag-valve mask ventilation. He was intubated without difficulty and with no noted airway edema. Concomitant bilateral needle thoracostomies were performed and subsequent bilateral tube thoracostomies were placed. Immediately after intubation and chest tube placements, the patient's oxygen saturations and heart rate improved. Bronchoscopy failed to demonstrate any evident pathology. However, computed tomography scan revealed a defect in the posterior wall of the trachea proximal to the termination of the endotracheal tube. Cardiothoracic surgery was consulted and performed a primary repair of the tracheal defect. The patient was extubated soon after surgery, and he was discharged home neurologically intact.

CONCLUSIONS:

The initial presentation of spontaneous tracheal rupture can be misleading and difficult to diagnose. After resuscitation, stabilization, and diagnosis, both surgical repair and nonoperative management have been reported as successful treatment measures for tracheal disruption.

KEYWORDS:

child; pediatrics; spontaneous rupture; trachea

PMID:
24054884
DOI:
10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.05.062
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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