A capnothorax, sometimes referred to as a carbon dioxide (CO2) pneumothorax, has been reported as a potential complication with laparoscopic surgeries.
It has been reported with almost all laparoscopic surgeries and is more likely to occur with high CO2 pressures and prolonged surgery (> 200 minutes) 1.
There are probably many different causes 2,3:
- congenital diaphragmatic weakness or defect
- CO2 diffusion
See the main article on pneumothorax.
Treatment and prognosis
CO2 can accumulate in the pleural space resulting in a "tension capnothorax" (see: tension pneumothorax), which is life-threatening and requires immediate decompression.
- 1. Phillips S, Falk GL. Surgical tension pneumothorax during laparoscopic repair of massive hiatus hernia: a different situation requiring different management. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2012;39 (6): 1120-3. Pubmed citation
- 2. Jang DM, Seo HS, Park JH et-al. Rapid identification of spontaneously resolving capnothorax using bedside M-mode ultrasonography during laparoscopic surgery: the "lung point" sign -two cases report-. Korean J Anesthesiol. 2013;65 (6): 578-82. doi:10.4097/kjae.2013.65.6.578 - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 3. Surgical Pitfalls. Saunders. ISBN:1416029516. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon