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A Case of Persistent Air Leak Managed by Selective Left Main Bronchus Intubation in an Infant with Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Unusual clinical course, Unusual setting of medical care

Laura Vargas-Pons, Laura Valdesoiro Navarrete, Sílvia Sánchez Pérez, Elisabet Guijarro Casas, Nuria Brun Lozano, Luis Renter Valdovinos, Raquel Corripio Collado

Pediatric Pneumology Unit, Parc Taulí University Hospital, Institute of Research and Annovation, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Sabadell, Spain

Am J Case Rep 2020; 21:e920453

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.920453

Available online:

Published: 2020-01-06


BACKGROUND: Persistent air leak, or persistent pneumothorax, is defined as a pneumothorax that persists beyond the first week, or air leak through a chest drain for more than 48 hours. The most common findings in pediatric pulmonary tuberculosis are parenchymal disease and mediastinal lymphadenopathy, but airway obstruction can cause emphysema and pneumothorax. A case is presented of persistent air leak in a 3-month-old infant with pulmonary tuberculosis that was managed by selective left main bronchus intubation.
CASE REPORT: A 3-month-old boy presented with respiratory distress and fever. Imaging findings suggested pulmonary tuberculosis, and first-line anti-tuberculous treatment was initiated with isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol (HRZE). He was discharged home after eight days, but was admitted four days later with respiratory distress. Chest X-rays showed a tension pneumothorax that required drainage and chest computed tomography (CT) showed right lung emphysema. Bronchoscopy found extrinsic obstruction of both main bronchi. Chest drains continued to leak air leak after 48 h. Right middle and lower lobectomy and drainage of multiple lymph nodes resulted in significant improvement. He developed pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, which prevented mechanical ventilation. The left main bronchus was selectively intubated to allow the air leak to heal and to ventilate the lung. He was extubated 10 days later and recovered completely.
CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights that when medical management of persistent air leak associated with tuberculosis is not effective, surgery, active ventilation, and selective main bronchus intubation should be considered.

Keywords: Pneumonectomy, Pneumothorax, pulmonary emphysema, Tuberculosis



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