Iatrogenic tension pneumothorax complicating outpatient Heimlich valve chest drainage

J Emerg Med. Jul-Aug 1994;12(4):477-9. doi: 10.1016/0736-4679(94)90343-3.


Use of new technology makes possible the outpatient management of conditions previously requiring inpatient treatment. With increased use of such modalities comes a greater chance that the emergency physician will encounter patients with device-related complications. We report a case of such a complication, a tension pneumothorax presenting to the emergency department following misguided manipulation of a modified Heimlich chest drainage system. It is recommended that physicians opting to utilize such out-patient technology refrain from improvised modifications that may be unfamiliar to subsequent providers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drainage / instrumentation*
  • Emergencies
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease*
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Pneumothorax / therapy*
  • Recurrence