Management of a life-threatening intercostal artery bleeding, difficult to visualize in open surgery: a case report
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Surgical Case Reports (JSCR). 2020, 2020 (10), 1-3. 10.1093/jscr/rjaa444
Life-threatening bleeding from an intercostal artery is a rare and challenging event. A 74-year-old patient with a right-sided pleural effusion was treated by a pigtail pleural drain. He developed a large haemothorax, initially addressed by a large bore chest tube. As he became haemodynamically unstable, he required an emergency anterolateral right thoracotomy. It was difficult to visualize and reach the bleeding vessel during open surgery. A 30° laparoscopy camera was introduced and the bleeding site was identified. An incision was made directly over the bleeding site and the two ends of the lacerated intercostal artery were ligated by two externally placed figure-of-eight sutures. The patient survived and recovered fully. As most general surgeons, even at smaller hospitals, are familiar with laparoscopy, the technique described here may be useful for other surgeons to employ if a life-threatening intercostal artery injury occurs.