Is Tension Pneumothorax a Threat in Trauma Laparoscopy?

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Tension pneumothorax is a reported risk with pneumoperitoneum in the presence of diaphragmatic injuries. A goat model with and without diaphragmatic injury was used to determine if varying levels of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) result in tension pneumothorax.


Twenty-four goats were divided equally into four groups: (1) 5 mm Hg IAP control, (2) 15 mm Hg IAP control, (3) 5 mm Hg IAP with diaphragmatic injury, (4) 15 mm Hg IAP with diaphragmatic injury. Chest x-ray films were made and heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure, central venous pressure (CVP), arterial blood gases, and airway pressure (AP) were measured at 10-minute intervals up to 30 minutes. Significant changes were determined by using the one-way analysis of variance and Mann-Whitney test with alpha set at p < 0.05.


In group 4, 100% (all six goats) developed radiographic evidence of tension pneumothorax by 10 minutes. Mean changes from baseline at 20 minutes for the following parameters were all significantly different from controls: HR (p < 0.05), CVP (p < 0.0001), PaO2 (p < 0.001), and AP (p < 0.004). Mortality was 67% (four of six) at 25 minutes. In group 3, 100% (all six goats) of the animals developed radiographic evidence of a simple pneumothorax without mediastinal shift. In this group, there were significant changes in PaO2 (p < 0.003), AP (p < 0.04), and HR (p < 0.05). Mortality was 16% (one of six) at 25 minutes.


In this goat model of diaphragmatic injury, tension pneumothorax is a significant threat when pneumoperitoneum is maintained at 15 mm Hg IAP. Pneumoperitoneum at 5 mm Hg IAP leads to simple pneumothorax with deleterious effects on oxygenation. Changes in AP, CVP, HR, and PaO2 provide early clues to the development of the problem.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles