Bronchial obstruction by tumor embolus of contralateral lung during pneumonectomy: Report of a case

Dong Kyu Lee, Heezoo Kim, Sang Ho Lim, Young Ho Choi, Hyun Koo Kim

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Bronchial obstruction due to a tumor embolus of the contralateral lung during pneumonectomy is an uncommon and fatal complication. According to previous cases, a bronchial balloon of double-lumen endotracheal tube (DLT) could prevent a dislodged tumor from traveling to the contralateral lung. We experienced a tumor embolism from the bronchus with cancer to the other bronchus despite applying DLT. A 59-year-old male with endobronchial lung cancer underwent a left pneumonectomy. One-lung ventilation was established by the right-sided DLT. After a left bronchial division, a sudden increase of peak airway pressure and reduction of the expired tidal volume to 50 ml was observed. Intraoperative fiberoptic bronchoscopy showed a near total obstruction of the right main bronchus due to tumor emboli. It was not possible to remove the tumor embolus through bronchoscopic suction and forceps. Therefore, we reopened the left bronchial stump and successfully extracted tumor embolus under bronchoscopic guidance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Feb 19


  • Airway obstruction
  • Bronchial neoplasm
  • Double-lumen endotracheal tube
  • Pneumonectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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