Acupuncture induced pneumothorax: A case report
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Various forms of alternative medicinal practices are gaining popularity. With this, there will be a rise in the complications arising from these practices. Acupuncture is also such practice which though safe can rarely cause life‐threatening complications.

A 30 years male presented to the emergency department with shortness of breath for one day. It was gradual in onset but had increased to such severity that he had to seek hospital care. There was no significant past history of illnesses except for chronic back pain for which he had been under regular acupuncture therapy which consisted of needling and cupping therapies. His last session was just one day prior on an outpatient basis following which he had gone home.

However, it had already been more than 20 hours post acupuncture. On examination, the patient's heart rate was 100 beats per minute, blood pressure was 140/90 mm of Hg, respiratory rate was 40 breaths per minute and an arterial hemoglobin saturation of 88%, in ambient air. Oxygen therapy with a face mask was instituted. There was hyper‐resonance on the left side of the chest on percussion and severely diminished air entry on that side. On inspection of his back, he had superficial discoid bruises resulting from his last session the day prior. A chest X-ray was obtained. A diagnosis of left‐sided pneumothorax was made.

With an increase in the alternative forms of medical practices, complications are also bound to increase. Pneumothorax can be a life‐threatening complication following acupuncture which should always be suspected in any patient who becomes short of breath following therapy.

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