Bilateral tension pneumothorax during jet ventilation: a case report

AANA J. 2000 Jun;68(3):241-4.


Jet ventilation (JV) involves high-pressure ventilation for upper laryngeal laser procedures. Anesthetic management for the patient undergoing JV can be challenging, as complications of JV can include subcutaneous emphysema and tension pneumothorax. A 52-year-old woman with a diagnosis of vocal cord polyps presented for direct microlaryngoscopy and laser laryngoplasty with JV. Intraoperatively, the patient developed lack of bilateral chest movement and an audible change in jet-ventilatory sounds. The patient was reintubated with a standard endotracheal tube. Subsequent attempts to ventilate the patient failed. A diagnosis of bilateral tension pneumothorax was made. Immediate pleural decompression resulted in improved ventilatory and hemodynamic status. The purpose of this case report is to discuss the pathophysiology related to tension pneumothorax and anesthetic implications for management of cases involving JV.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • High-Frequency Jet Ventilation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Laser Therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Polyps / surgery
  • Vocal Cords / surgery