A young man presented in emergency department with shortness of breath and cough after accidental inhalation of chlorine gas. Initial presentation was unremarkable; therefore, he was kept under observation for 8 hours and was later discharged. After 5 hours, the patient presented again in emergency department with sudden-onset shortness of breath and chest discomfort. On examination, subcutaneous crepitation around the neck and chest was found. Chest and neck X-ray revealed subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum. CT neck and chest was done, which revealed subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum and a linear air density in close approximation to right posterolateral wall of trachea at the level of superior margin of sternum was reported. These findings raised the possibility of tracheal injury which was later confirmed by fiberoptic laryngoscopy. The patient was intubated due to hypercapnic respiratory failure resulting from hypoventilation and respiratory distress. Bilateral chest tube insertion was done due to worsening subcutaneous emphysema, high ventilator parameters and prevention of progression to pneumothorax. He was extubated after 5 days; bilateral chest tubes were removed before discharge and underwent uneventful recovery.
- adult intensive care
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Contributors SA: conception or design of the work, analysis and interpretation of data. TE: drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content. AdA: involved in primary patient care as attending physician and drafted the work and analysed the literature review. ArA: final approval of the version to be published and critically analysed it.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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