BMJ Case Reports 2012; doi:10.1136/bcr-2012-006358
  • Images in…

Development of a tension pneumothorax despite intercostal drain insertion

  1. Pantelis Vassiliu3
  1. 1Imperial College School of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Department of Fourth Surgical Clinic, Attikon University Hospital, Athens, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alasdair James Scott, as703{at}


A 21-year-old man presented to a trauma department in Johannesburg with two sucking stab wounds on each side of his posterior thorax. The patient was in respiratory distress with oxygen saturation of 91% on 15 L O2. Blood pressure was 105/72 mm Hg, pulse 112/min and blood gas analysis demonstrated a mixed metabolic and respiratory acidosis.

A left haemopneumothorax was detected clinically although there was no evidence of tensioning. The stab wounds were covered with damp, three-sided dressings and an intercostal drain (ICD) …

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article