Behavioral Disturbance Causing Sudden Respiratory Distress in a 3-Year-Old After Tracheocutaneous Fistula Closure: A Case Report

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Abstract

A 3-year-old boy underwent tracheostomy at age 5 months for respiratory failure. The tracheostomy tube was removed a year later but a tracheocutaneous fistula developed requiring fistulectomy and primary skin closure. After an initial uneventful course in the postanesthesia care unit, the patient became agitated, began to scream, and suddenly developed rapidly progressing subcutaneous emphysema over his chest, face, and abdomen. Orotracheal intubation was emergently performed and chest radiograph revealed pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum. The child was taken to the operating room for placement of a tracheostomy tube.

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