Nav: Home

Chest cavity fire during emergency cardiac surgery

June 02, 2019

At this year's Euroanaesthesia Congress (the annual meeting of the European Society of Anaesthesiology) in Vienna, Austria (1-3 June), doctors present the unique case of a man who suffered a flash fire in his chest cavity during emergency heart surgery caused by supplemental oxygen leaking from a ruptured lung.

Dr Ruth Shaylor and colleagues from Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia, where the incident took place, warn that the case highlights the potential dangers of dry surgical packs in the oxygen-enrich environment of the operating theatre where electrocautery devices (using heat to stop vessels from bleeding) are used.

In August 2018, a 60-year-old man presented for emergency repair of an ascending aortic dissection--a tear in the inner layer of the aorta wall in the chest. The patient had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had undergone coronary artery bypass grafting one year previously.

As surgeons began to operate, they noted that the man's right lung was stuck to the overlying sternum with areas of overinflated and destroyed lung (bullae; often caused by COPD). Despite careful dissection, one of these bullae was punctured causing a substantial air leak. To prevent respiratory distress, the flows of anaesthetic gases were increased to 10 litres per minute and the proportion of oxygen to 100%.

Soon after, a spark from the electrocautery device ignited a dry surgical pack. The fire was immediately extinguished without any injury to the patient. The rest of the operation proceeded uneventfully and the repair was a success.

"While there are only a few documented cases of chest cavity fires--three involving thoracic surgery and three involving coronary bypass grafting--all have involved the presence of dry surgical packs, electrocautery, increased inspired oxygen concentrations, and patients with COPD or pre-existing lung disease", explains Dr Shaylor.

"This case highlights the continued need for fire training and prevention strategies and quick intervention to prevent injury whenever electrocautery is used in oxygen-enriched environments. In particular surgeons and anaesthetists need to be aware that fires can occur in the chest cavity if a lung is damaged or there is an air leak for any reason, and that patients with COPD are at increased risk."
-end-


ESA (European Society of Anaesthesiology)

Related Copd Articles:

COPD as a lung stem cell disease
Two internationally renowned stem cell researchers at the University of Houston have found an abundance of abnormal stem cells in the lungs of patients who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a leading cause of death worldwide.
New hope for COPD patients possible with in-home device
In a new paper published Feb. 4 in JAMA, Mayo Clinic researchers describe the benefits of in-home noninvasive ventilation therapy, which includes a type referred to as bilevel positive airway pressure, or BiPAP -- for many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD appears to cause more severe symptoms in women
Women who develop COPD report smoking fewer cigarettes than men; and yet, women experience greater breathing impairments, are subjected to more acute exacerbations of symptoms and report lower quality of life than men with the disease, according to research presented at ATS 2019.
African-Americans with COPD appear less likely to use pulmonary rehab
African-American patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are less likely to participate in pulmonary rehabilitation programs than white patients, even when there are programs nearby.
COPD and type 2 diabetes
COPD and type 2 diabetes are two highly prevalent global health conditions associated with high mortality and morbidity.
Number of nonsmokers with COPD on the rise
The global burden of COPD is high, and prevalence of nonsmokers with COPD has been increasing.
Flu vaccination keeps COPD patients out of the hospital
A new study published in the January issue of CHEST® establishes that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) face heightened risks of death, critical illness, and hospitalization if they develop the flu and demonstrates the beneficial effects of influenza vaccination.
Kidney disease biomarker may also be a marker for COPD
A commonly used biomarker of kidney disease may also indicate lung problems, particularly COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new research published online in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
COPD-associated inflammation halted in model experiment
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD for short, is believed to be the third most common cause of death worldwide.
Study: Almost 100 million adults have COPD in China
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is widespread in China with 8.6 percent of the country's adult population -- almost 100 million people -- suffering from the chronic lung disease, according to a new Tulane University study published in The Lancet.
More COPD News and COPD Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.