BMJ Case Reports 2013; doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-010177

Fatal re-expansion pulmonary edema in a young adult following tube thoracostomy for spontaneous pneumothorax

  1. Navneet Singh
  1. Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, India
  1. Correspondence to Dr Navneet Singh, navneetchd{at}


Re-expansion pulmonary edema (RPE) is a rare but potentially fatal complication that can occur following rapid lung expansion while managing patients with pleural effusion or pneumothorax. In this case, fatal outcome occurred due to RPE in a previously healthy young adult male patient subsequent to tube thoracostomy for spontaneous pneumothorax. While managing patients with pneumothorax or large pleural effusions, precautions should be taken to avoid rapid re-expansion of the previously collapsed lung in order to reduce the probability of development of this complication.

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