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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2018, Article ID 3103061, 5 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3103061
Case Report

A Case Report of Acute Airway Compromise due to Subcutaneous Emphysema

1Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Department of Surgery, South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE, Calgary, AB T3M1M4, Canada
2Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services, G33-1403 29 ST NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada
3Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Department of Surgery, Foothills Medical Centre, Alberta Health Services, 1403 29th ST NW, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada
4Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services, Department of Surgery, South Health Campus, 4448 Front St SE, Calgary, AB T3M1M4, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to John B. Kortbeek; ac.sha@keebtrok.nhoj

Received 6 September 2018; Revised 26 October 2018; Accepted 11 November 2018; Published 25 November 2018

Academic Editor: Stephen P. Peters

Copyright © 2018 David Olmstead et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

In the acute management of a trauma patient, airway patency is of utmost importance. The present case describes a male patient who presented with delayed severe upper airway obstruction secondary to massive subcutaneous emphysema following blunt traumatic injury two days previously. Airway compromise is a rarely described but serious complication of subcutaneous emphysema. Current management of subcutaneous emphysema and its association with pneumothorax is summarized. Early decompression of underlying pneumothoraces in patients with significant subcutaneous emphysema should be performed to avoid this rare complication.