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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY

A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery


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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2005 October;46(5):519-21

language: English

Subarachnoid-pleural fistula due to blunt chest trauma. A case report

Rena O. 1, Della Corte F. 2, Papalia E. 1, Mazza M. 2, Oliaro A. 3, Casadio C. 1

1 Thoracic Surgery Unit University of Eastern Piedmont “A. Avogadro” “Maggiore della Carità” General Hospital, Novara, Italy
2 Intensive Care Unit University of Eastern Piedmont “A. Avogadro” “Maggiore della Carità” General Hospital, Novara, Italy
3 Thoracic Surgery Unit, University of Torino “San Giovanni Battista” General Hospital, Torino, Italy


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Subarachnoid pleural fistula (SPF) due to blunt chest trauma is rare. When SPF isn’t associated with any neurological deficits, its clinical diagnosis is possible only with high degree of suspicion. Presentation symptoms include dyspnea and respiratory distress caused by the collection of cerebral-spinal fluid in the pleural cavity. Computed tomography scan after myelography is helpful in confirming the site of the fistula. Possible dangerous complications are infections or pneumoencephalus. Some cases resolved spontaneously after bed rest or pleural drainage alone, while others required surgical repair. We report a case of spontaneous closure after pleural drainage and a brief period of mechanical ventilation.

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