Severe thoracic trauma resulting in a total left pneumonecto
Double lumen intubation and one-lung ventilation should be applied without delay in cases of traumatic main bronchial rupture. In most cases, when the patients’ vital signs have been stabilized, the repair can be performed. However, when one-lung ventilation is complicated by traumatic wet lung, the mortality rate is likely to be much higher. The present case has been reported in the journal BMC Pulmonary Medicine.

In this case, the patient experienced a left main bronchial rupture, bilateral traumatic wet lung, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) because of severe thoracic trauma. Though the patient was treated with intubation and mechanical ventilation (MV), his oxygenation was still not stable.

Thus, veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (V-V ECMO) was initiated; upon improvement of oxygenation, the patient received an exploratory thoracotomy. Unfortunately, the rupture proved to be irreparable, resulting in a total left pneumonectomy.

As there was severe ARDS caused by trauma, ECMO and ultra-low tidal volume (VT) MV strategy (3 ml/kg) were utilized for lung protection post-op. ECMO was sustained up to the 10th day, and MV until the 20th day, post-operation. With the support of MV, ECMO and other comprehensive measures, the patient made a recovery.

Key takeaways:-
- V-V ECMO and ultra-low VT MV helped this thoracic trauma patient survive the lung edema period and prevented ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP).

- In extreme situations, with the support of ECMO, the tidal volume may be lowered to 3 ml/kg.

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