Clinical Communications: Adult|Articles in Press

Decompression Technique Using Subcutaneous Angiocatheter Insertion to Relieve Extensive Subcutaneous Emphysema: A Case Report



      Trauma, pneumothorax, complication of surgery, infection, or malignancy can cause subcutaneous emphysema and although most subcutaneous emphysema cases are self-limited, extensive subcutaneous emphysema can lead to a compromised airway and cardiovascular system. In this report, we described a successful treatment strategy in which subcutaneous angiocatheter insertion was used to relieve the pressure of extensive subcutaneous emphysema.

      Case Report

      An 83-year-old man was received at the emergency department (ED) for recurrent pneumothorax and extensive subcutaneous emphysema. Six 18-gauge angiocatheters were inserted under the thoracic subcutaneous tissue and a noticeable improvement was seen 3 h after angiocatheter insertion.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      Subcutaneous angiocatheter insertion may be a safe and uncomplicated decompression technique to relieve extensive subcutaneous emphysema, particularly in the ED.


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