A 23-year-old man with AIDS presented to the emergency department with recurrent spontaneous pneumothoraces secondary to recent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Shortly after placement of bilateral pigtail catheters for chest reexpansion, he developed fatal unilateral reexpansion pulmonary edema. The association between P carinii pneumonia and pneumothorax, and the risk factors and pathophysiology of reexpansion pulmonary edema are reviewed. Emergency physicians should recognize that reexpansion pulmonary edema is an important complication in the treatment of prolonged spontaneous pneumothorax that can lead rapidly to severe hypoxia, hypotension, and death.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine