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Concept: Pneumothorax


Background Aortic-root dissection is the leading cause of death in Marfan’s syndrome. Studies suggest that with regard to slowing aortic-root enlargement, losartan may be more effective than beta-blockers, the current standard therapy in most centers. Methods We conducted a randomized trial comparing losartan with atenolol in children and young adults with Marfan’s syndrome. The primary outcome was the rate of aortic-root enlargement, expressed as the change in the maximum aortic-root-diameter z score indexed to body-surface area (hereafter, aortic-root z score) over a 3-year period. Secondary outcomes included the rate of change in the absolute diameter of the aortic root; the rate of change in aortic regurgitation; the time to aortic dissection, aortic-root surgery, or death; somatic growth; and the incidence of adverse events. Results From January 2007 through February 2011, a total of 21 clinical centers enrolled 608 participants, 6 months to 25 years of age (mean [±SD] age, 11.5±6.5 years in the atenolol group and 11.0±6.2 years in the losartan group), who had an aortic-root z score greater than 3.0. The baseline-adjusted rate of change (±SE) in the aortic-root z score did not differ significantly between the atenolol group and the losartan group (-0.139±0.013 and -0.107±0.013 standard-deviation units per year, respectively; P=0.08). Both slopes were significantly less than zero, indicating a decrease in the degree of aortic-root dilatation relative to body-surface area with either treatment. The 3-year rates of aortic-root surgery, aortic dissection, death, and a composite of these events did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups. Conclusions Among children and young adults with Marfan’s syndrome who were randomly assigned to losartan or atenolol, we found no significant difference in the rate of aortic-root dilatation between the two treatment groups over a 3-year period. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; number, NCT00429364 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cardiology, Aortic dissection, Aorta, Marfan syndrome, Pneumothorax, Beta blocker, Losartan


Extravascular lung water (EVLW) is a key variable in heart failure management and prognosis, but its objective assessment remains elusive. Lung imaging has been traditionally considered off-limits for ultrasound techniques due to the acoustic barrier of high-impedance air wall. In pulmonary congestion however, the presence of both air and water creates a peculiar echo fingerprint. Lung ultrasound shows B-lines, comet-like signals arising from a hyper-echoic pleural line with a to-and-fro movement synchronized with respiration. Increasing EVLW accumulation changes the normal, no-echo signal (black lung, no EVLW) into a black-and-white pattern (interstitial sub-pleural oedema with multiple B-lines) or a white lung pattern (alveolar pulmonary oedema) with coalescing B-lines. The number and spatial extent of B-lines on the antero-lateral chest allows a semi-quantitative estimation of EVLW (from absent, ≤5, to severe pulmonary oedema, >30 B-lines). Wet B-lines are made by water and decreased by diuretics, which cannot modify dry B-lines made by connective tissue. B-lines can be evaluated anywhere (including extreme environmental conditions with pocket size instruments to detect high-altitude pulmonary oedema), anytime (during dialysis to titrate intervention), by anyone (even a novice sonographer after 1 h training), and on anybody (since the chest acoustic window usually remains patent when echocardiography is not feasible). Cardiologists can achieve much diagnostic gain with little investment of technology, training, and time. B-lines represent ‘the shape of lung water’. They allow non-invasive detection, in real time, of even sub-clinical forms of pulmonary oedema with a low cost, radiation-free approach.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Heart, Epithelium, Pulmonary contusion, Pneumothorax, Edema, Pulmonary edema



Small 14F pigtail catheters (PCs) have been shown to drain air quite well in patients with traumatic pneumothorax (PTX). But their effectiveness in draining blood in patients with traumatic hemothorax (HTX) or hemopneumothorax (HPTX) is unknown. We hypothesized that 14F PCs can drain blood as well as large-bore 32F to 40F chest tubes. We herein report our early case series experience with PCs in the management of traumatic HTX and HPTX.

Concepts: Hospital, Pulmonary contusion, Pneumothorax, Physical trauma, Chest tube, Hemothorax, Chest trauma, Hemopneumothorax


We aimed to assess the frequency of connective tissue abnormalities among patients with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks in a prospective study using a large cohort of patients. We enrolled a consecutive group of 50 patients, referred for consultation because of CSF leak. All patients have been carefully examined for the presence of connective tissue abnormalities, and based on findings, patients underwent genetic testing. Ancillary diagnostic studies included echocardiography, eye exam, and histopathological examinations of skin and dura biopsies in selected patients. We identified nine patients with heritable connective tissue disorders, including Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other unclassified forms. In seven patients, spontaneous CSF leak was the first noted manifestation of the genetic disorder. We conclude that spontaneous CSF leaks are associated with a spectrum of connective tissue abnormalities and may be the first noted clinical presentation of the genetic disorder. We propose that there is a clinical basis for considering spontaneous CSF leak as a clinical manifestation of heritable connective tissue disorders, and we suggest that patients with CSF leaks should be screened for connective tissue and vascular abnormalities.

Concepts: Genetics, Collagen, Marfan syndrome, Genetic disorders, Pneumothorax, Connective tissue, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak


Small-bore pigtail catheters have been found to be effective in the treatment of primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) in adults. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of small-bore pigtail and large-bore catheters in the treatment of PSP in young adolescents.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Pneumothorax


OBJECTIVES:: The benefits of spontaneous breathing over muscle paralysis have been proven mainly in mild lung injury; no one has yet evaluated the effects of spontaneous breathing in severe lung injury. We investigated the effects of spontaneous breathing in two different severities of lung injury compared with muscle paralysis. DESIGN:: Prospective, randomized, animal study. SETTING:: University animal research laboratory. SUBJECTS:: Twenty-eight New Zealand white rabbits. INTERVENTIONS:: Rabbits were randomly divided into the mild lung injury (surfactant depletion) group or severe lung injury (surfactant depletion followed by injurious mechanical ventilation) group and ventilated with 4-hr low tidal volume ventilation with spontaneous breathing or without spontaneous breathing (prevented by a neuromuscular blocking agent). Inspiratory pressure was adjusted to control tidal volume to 5-7 mL/kg, maintaining a plateau pressure less than 30 cm H2O. Dynamic CT was used to evaluate changes in lung aeration and the regional distribution of tidal volume. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:: In mild lung injury, spontaneous breathing improved oxygenation and lung aeration by redistribution of tidal volume to dependent lung regions. However, in severe lung injury, spontaneous breathing caused a significant increase in atelectasis with cyclic collapse. Because of the severity of lung injury, this group had higher plateau pressure and more excessive spontaneous breathing effort, resulting in the highest transpulmonary pressure and the highest driving pressure. Although no improvements in lung aeration were observed, muscle paralysis with severe lung injury resulted in better oxygenation, more even tidal ventilation, and less histological lung injury. CONCLUSIONS:: In animals with mild lung injury, spontaneous breathing was beneficial to lung recruitment; however, in animals with severe lung injury, spontaneous breathing could worsen lung injury, and muscle paralysis might be more protective for injured lungs by preventing injuriously high transpulmonary pressure and high driving pressure.

Concepts: Better, Lung, Heart, Muscle, Thermodynamics, Pneumothorax, Paralysis, Tidal volume


A case of high-frequency jet ventilation (HFJV) during video-assisted thoracoscopicsurgery (VATS) in a patient with previous contralateral pneumonectomy is presented. A 77yearold man with a right pneumothorax was scheduled for bullectomy by VATS. He had undergone left pneumonectomy due to lung cancer 6 years earlier.Anesthesia was induced and maintained with propofol and fentanyl. The patient was intubated with a normal, single-lumen endotracheal tube (ETT).HFJV was applied through the ETT during the VATS procedure. Although PaCO(2) gradually increased from 51.9 mmHg to 80.0 mmHg, appropriate surgical conditions were provided, PaO(2) was well preserved, and blood pressure and heart rate were stable throughout the VATS procedure.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Endotracheal tube, Intubation, Pneumothorax, Thoracic surgery, VATS lobectomy, Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery


A 61-year-old man with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presented to our hospital with recurrence of a right-sided spontaneous secondary pneumothorax. Thoracoscopic abrasion of the parietal pleura was performed, but an important air leak persisted. Presumed to originate from a bulla in the right upper lobe, bullectomy and pleural decortication were performed, but leakage remained. Lobectomy was considered, and quantitative ventilation/perfusion SPECT was performed to predict the functional outcome.Fused high-resolution CT/Tc Technegas images localized leakage not only to a bleb in the right upper lobe but also to the subcutaneous emphysema in the thoracic wall. The air leak resolved after conservative treatment.

Concepts: Pulmonology, Lung, Emphysema, Pneumothorax, Thoracic cavity, Pleural cavity, Tension pneumothorax, Leak


Blue Rubber Bleb Nevus Syndrome (BRBS) is a rare disease, characterized by multiple vascular malformations in the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Other organs can also be affected, presenting different clinical manifestations such as arthralgia, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hematuria, hemothorax, mild thrombocytopenia, consumptive coagulopathy, and bone deformities, among others. We present a case of BRBS in a nine-year-old boy with the characteristic clinical manifestations of punctated purplish-blue skin lesions that vary in size and gastrointestinal vascular malformations with upper digestive tract bleeding.

Concepts: Digestive system, Skin, Human gastrointestinal tract, Pneumothorax, Digestion, Blue rubber bleb nevus syndrome