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Spiro, Judith E.; Sisovic, Snezana; Ockert, Ben; Böcker, Wolfgang and Siebenbürger, Georg (2020): Secondary tension pneumothorax in a COVID-19 pneumonia patient: a case report. In: Infection, Vol. 48: pp. 941-944 [PDF, 661kB]


PURPOSE Especially in elderly and multimorbid patients, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) may result in severe pneumonia and secondary complications. Recent studies showed pneumothorax in rare cases, but tension pneumothorax has only been reported once. CASE PRESENTATION A 47-year-old male was admitted to the emergency department with fever, dry cough and sore throat for the last 14~days as well as acute stenocardia and shortage of breath. Sputum testing (polymerase chain reaction, PCR) confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Initial computed tomography (CT) showed bipulmonary groundglass opacities and consolidations with peripheral distribution. Hospitalization with supportive therapy (azithromycin) as well as non-invasive oxygenation led to a stabilization of the patient. After 5~days, sputum testing was negative and IgA/IgG antibody titres were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The patient was discharged after 7~days. On the 11th day, the patient realized pronounced dyspnoea after coughing and presented to the emergency department again. CT showed a right-sided tension pneumothorax, which was relieved by a chest drain (Buelau) via mini open thoracotomy. Negative pressure therapy resulted in regression of the pneumothorax and the patient was discharged after 9~days of treatment. CONCLUSION Treating physicians should be aware that COVID-19 patients might develop severe secondary pulmonary complications such as acute tension pneumothorax. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE V.

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