Potassium chloride tablet in trachea

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard
Diagnosis certain


Sudden onset of respiratory distress, in a patient admitted for lower limb fractures treated a number of days previously with internal fixation.

Patient Data

Age: Adult
Gender: Male

CTPA demonstrates a tablet lying dependently in the patient's trachea, with changes of aspiration in both lower lobes (not shown). A second tablet was visible in the stomach. The tablet was removed via a bronchoscope and confirmed to be a Slow K (potassium).

Case Discussion

 This case illustrates one of many exceptions to Occam's razor, which would predict this patient would have a pulmonary embolus. Oh well.. back to the drawing board Occam. 

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