Is Primary Repair of Tracheobronchial Rupture Curative?


Background: Tracheobronchial disruption as a result of blunt thoracic trauma is a rare entity and only clinically serious lesions come to our notice, which can be life-threatening and need prompt recognition and treatment. Objectives: To review the authors’ experience with tracheobronchial injuries to emphasize the need for prompt diagnosis and treatment to avoid lethal complications including severe hypoxic organ failure, sepsis, mediastinitis and bronchopleural fistula. Patients and methods: A retrospective study of total 32 patients with tracheobronchial injury from 2001 to 2011. This study limited to patients with thoracic tracheal or bronchial injury, excluding those with cervical injuries. The study includes collected information about mechanism of injury, presentation, time until diagnosis and treatment, anatomical site of injury, type of treatment, diagnostic methods, duration of follow up and outcome. Results: Twenty-four patients were male (75%) and eight were females (25%). Patient’s ages ranged from 7 - 53 years. Majority of cases was referred because of blunt trauma in 15 cases (46.8%), 6 (18.75) motor vehicle accident, 5 (15.6%) fall from a height and 4 (12.5%) with trauma by heavy object, while 8 cases (25%) were referred due to penetrating injury and 2 cases (6.25%) due to iatrogenic injury. In initially diagnosed group, the predominant clinical signs that give a suspicion of tracheobronchial disruption were increased subcutaneous surgical emphysema, shortness of breath, hemoptysis. After the admission to emergency unit, all of them were examined radiologically by chest X-ray film. Longitudinal tear of right upper lobe bronchus was found in 8 cases (32%), complete cut of right upper lobe bronchus in 4 cases (16%), tear of right intermediate bronchus in 4 cases (16%), 3 cases with clear cut left upper lobe (12%), longitudinal tear of distal lateral tracheal wall extend to right upper lobe in 2 cases (8%), 2 cases (8%) showed complex disruption of distal trachea right main with carinal tear and 2 cases (8%) with longitudinal tear of membranous wall of the trachea. 17 patients from early diagnosed cases had concomitant comorbid extra thoracic injuries at the time of diagnosis in the form of abdominal trauma in 12 cases, skeletal fractures in 9 cases and head injury in 5 cases. Conclusion: In a patient with a complex bronchial rupture, primary repair of the bronchus can be possible with complete functional preservation of the lung tissue.

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A. Salem, A. Brik, A. Refat, K. Elfagharany and A. Badr, "Is Primary Repair of Tracheobronchial Rupture Curative?," Open Journal of Thoracic Surgery, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 47-50. doi: 10.4236/ojts.2013.32010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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