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Right upper lobe collapse secondary to an anomalous bronchus after endotracheal intubation for routine surgery

Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong


Perioperative hypoxaemia is a common but serious problem with well recognised causes. However, an anomalous bronchus causing lobar collapse as a cause is seldom mentioned. A healthy young male patient was anaesthetised for a knee operation. He required re-intubation immediately postoperatively for hypoxia. He was found to have right upper lobe collapse. Fibreoptic examination of the trachea demonstrated an anomalous bronchus as the cause. Intra-operatively, the endotracheal tube had been inserted too deeply and the bronchial orifice had been obstructed by the tip. It took several hours for the lung to re-expand. Greater awareness of this potential complication is needed.

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