Friday, March 2, 2012

A note on contralateral reexpansion pulmonary edema

Reexpansion pulmonary edema (RPE) is a rare but life thretening complication of evacuation of pleural fluid or air (pneumothorax). One interesting but poorly inderstood complication is development of RPE on the side contralateral to the lung that was drained.

RPE usually occur if a lung is collapsed for more than 3 days. It is recommended not to remove more than 1 liter of fluid in such instance. In other scenario, the procedure should be halted if the patient has sudden chest symptoms. Supplemental oxygen may be helpful too along with NIPPV and diuresis.

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