Acupuncture is a well-known form of complementary medicine that is increasingly being used worldwide. Despite being rare, pneumothorax is the most common serious complication described in acupuncture. A 79-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency department with a pneumothorax. Two days before, she had undergone an acupuncture treatment for chronic back pain. She felt a sharp right shoulder pain as needles were inserted in the interscapular area. As the pain did not resolve, she consulted her general practitioner and had a chest radiography done, revealing a right-sided pneumothorax. At the hospital, a right chest tube was inserted with relief of the symptoms and lung expansion. The chest tube was removed on the second day of admission, and she was discharged on the third day. Both acupuncturists and clinicians need to be aware of the possibility of adverse events following acupuncture, especially in those who develop symptoms.
- complementary medicine
- respiratory medicine
- emergency medicine
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