Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences

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Bilateral Re-Expansion Pulmonary Oedema– When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease

Lynch R M, McCague Y, Seedhoo R


Background: Re-expansion pulmonary oedema is a potentially fatal consequence of rapid reexpansion of a lung, which has been collapsed due to a pleural effusion or a pneumothorax.

Case Report: We report a very unusual case in which the patient initially developed ipsilateral followed by contralateral pulmonary oedema following rapid drainage of a massive pleural effusion. The patient’s condition deteriorated rapidly and on the third day following admission, her condition proved fatal. In addition a literature review is presented.

Conclusion: It is essential that doctors appreciate the importance of gradual re-expansion of a lung, which has been collapsed for a few days or longer and take appropriate precautions in order to minimize the likelihood of developing re-expansion pulmonary oedema.

Key words: pulmonary oedema, re-expansion, pleural effusion, pneumothorax.

AJOL African Journals Online