DOI: 10.1213/xaa.0000000000001729 ISSN: 2575-3126

A Case Report of Tension Hydrothorax Incited by Bowel Perforation

Kyle J. Sanchez, Elisa C. Walsh, Edward A. Bittner, Katarina J. Ruscic
  • General Medicine

We report the case of a 34-year-old man who developed cardiac arrest due to tension hydrothorax from colonic perforation. Tension hydrothorax, an entity characterized by pleural effusion leading to mediastinal compression, has not been reported in association with intraabdominal inflammation. Our patient developed respiratory insufficiency after repair of colonic perforation, followed by respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. Transthoracic echocardiography provided rapid diagnosis during decompensation and prompted a lifesaving thoracostomy. Clinicians should consider tension hydrothorax as a rare cause of hemodynamic collapse, even in the absence of liver failure, and use bedside tools like transthoracic echocardiography to facilitate diagnosis and intervention.

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