Pneumothorax as a complication of tracheostomy in a horse

G Kelly, Maureen Prendergast, C Skelly, Patrick Pollock, K Dunne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A filly developed subcutaneous emphysema and pneumothorax after an emergency tracheotomy was performed to alleviate dyspnoea that developed after surgery on the paranasal sinuses. Pneumothorax may have resulted from migration of subcutaneous air, present as result of the tracheotomy, first into the mediastinal space and then into the pleural cavities. Subcutaneous emphysema, and hence pneumothorax, may develop after tracheotomy when powerful inspiratory movements, caused by respiratory obstruction, result in such high negative intrathoracic pressures that air is pulled through the cutaneous incision and cervical fascia into the mediastinum. This case demonstrates that tracheotomy in the horse can lead to life-threatening pneumothorax. Insertion of a tracheotomy tube insufficient in diameter to relieve high negative intrathoracic pressure may result in pneumothorax.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalIrish Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


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