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Can J Anaesth. 1998 Aug;45(8):785-8.

Negative pressure pulmonary oedema induced by direct suctioning of endotracheal tube adapter.

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Department of Anesthesia and Surgery, Show-Chwan Memorial Hospital, Changhua, Taiwan, R.O.C.



Negative pressure pulmonary oedema (NPPE) is a well-recognized but rare complication secondary to upper airway obstruction such as laryngeal spasm during emergence from general anaesthesia. Cauterization of the second and third thoracic sympathetic ganglia is a treatment for hyperhidrosis of the hands. We report a case of NPPE induced by direct suctioning of the endotracheal tube adapter during thoracic sympathetic ganglionectomy without recognized upper airway obstruction.


A 19-yr-old otherwise healthy, non-smoking man was scheduled for elective bilateral chest endoscopic ablation of the second and third thoracic sympathetic ganglion for hyperhidrosis of the hands under general anaesthesia. To view and cauterize the ganglion with the endoscope, the surgeon requested cessation of positive pressure ventilation. As the surgeon could not satisfactorily visualize the target ganglia, he requested brief application of wall suction via the ETT tube adapter. A pressure of -100 mmHg was generated which lasted for three to four seconds. The goal was to reduce further the lung volume by increasing the pneumothorax produced by the endoscope. The patient developed negative pressure pulmonary oedema without upper airway obstruction.


This case demonstrated that intrathoracic negative pressure generated by direct ETT adapter suctioning may produce pulmonary oedema similar to that induced by laryngeal spasm during the emergence of general anaesthesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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