Tension pneumothorax

Case contributed by Frank Gaillard
Diagnosis certain


Increased respiratory distress.

Patient Data

Age: Neonate

An ET tube in position is a little high. There are bilateral pneumothoraces. On the right side there is a tension pneumothorax with depression of the diaphragm and mediastinal shift towards the left. The right lung appears almost completely collapsed. On the left side the pneumothorax is subpulmonic. The left lung is hypoinflated and compressed.


A chest tube in situ (it is actually an IV cannula) and the tension has been relieved. 

Case Discussion

A tension pneumothorax is a time-critical emergency and a cool head and an IV cannula is enough to save a life. 

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