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Pulmonary air leak syndrome associated with traumatic nasopharyngeal suctioning
  1. Maria Chitty Lopez1,
  2. Elza Pollak-Christian1,
  3. Michael Keenaghan1,2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics, King's County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elza Pollak-Christian, elzapollak{at}


We describe a healthy 7-month-old female infant who developed spontaneous pneumomediastinum (PM) and subcutaneous emphysema after traumatic nasopharyngeal suctioning (NPS) while hospitalised for respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of pulmonary air leak syndrome associated with traumatic NPS in a healthy infant affected by bronchiolitis. Although NPS is currently the mainstay of treatment in patients admitted with bronchiolitis in the USA, currently there are minimal data regarding the safety and effectiveness of the procedure in patients with bronchiolitis. Physicians should consider the possibility of pulmonary air leak as a complication of NPS and have high suspicion in a decompensating infant after suctioning who is afflicted with bronchiolitis.

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  • Contributors MCL and EP-C were involved in the drafting of the manuscript, associated editing and all manuscript revisions. EP-C, MCL and MK were involved in the care and follow-up of the patient. MK was additionally involved in manuscript revision and approval of the manuscript to be published.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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