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Clinical Communications

Pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax and pneumoretroperitoneum following endoscopic retrieval of a tracheal foreign body from a cat : clinical communication

A.B. Zambelli

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association; Vol 77, No 1 (2006), 45-50. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v77i1.340

Submitted: 06 June 2006
Published:  06 June 2006


6-year-old entire male cat was presented with a 1-week history of severe dyspnoea without coughing. Upon auscultation, an inspiratory and particularly pronounced expiratory wheeze was noted, with severe dyspnoea. The minimum database was normal. Plain thoracic radiographs showed signs of a mural or intraluminal intrathoracic (1-T4) tracheal narrowing. A dynamic collapsing trachea was ruled out using fluoroscopy. Bronchoscopy was performed and a dark green and brown spiculated foreign object was found just cranial to the carina. Following removal, the cat rapidly developed extensive truncal subcutaneous emphysema and oxygen-responsive dyspnoea and cyanosis. Follow-up radiographs demonstrated unilateral pneumothorax and lung collapse, marked pneumomediastinum and dissection of air through the tracheal wall. A thoracic drain was placed and the pneumothorax resolved rapidly. Follow-up radiographs demonstrated resolution of pneumothorax and development of extensive retroperitoneal air. The cat made an uneventful recovery. The foreign object was the calyx and stem of a flower. This article emphasises the importance of diagnostic imaging in the dyspnoeic patient, both for confirming initial suspicions of respiratory tract disease, and in managing and charting post-therapy resolution or complications.

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A.B. Zambelli,


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1. Pneumomediastinum in cats: 45 cases (2000-2010)
Emily K. Thomas, Rebecca S. Syring
Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care  vol: 23  issue: 4  first page: 429  year: 2013  
doi: 10.1111/vec.12069

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