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Re-expansion pulmonary edema after large left pleural effusion

Journal of Lung, Pulmonary & Respiratory Research
Bilal Chaudhry, MD,1 Kirill Alekseyev, MD, MBA,2 Lidiya Didenko MS4,2 Nikita Donti, DO


Background: Reexpansion pulmonary edema (REPE) is a complication that arises from a precipitous or rapid expansion of a collapsed lung. This rare complication is thought to arise after using an intercostal drainage tube in patients with a tension pneumothorax, those with large pleural effusions, and occasionally when used therapeutically in thoracentesis. There are a multitude of risk factors, and it usually self-limiting, with the mainstay of treatment being supportive with oxygen. It is believed that 20% of cases are fatal. Case report: A 60-year-old male was treated with a 28 French tube for a large left pleural effusion. He developed REPE shortly after and developed severe shortness of breath, for which he required high flow oxygen. He was managed in the Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU) and shortly after was discharged home.


reexpansion pulmonary edema, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, pulmonary edema, shortness of breath