A patient who develops a bronchopleural fistula after lung surgery may present with a number of complications. The presence of a bronchopleural fisutal is associated with increased in-hospital mortality. Early diagnosis and aggressive management are required to improve outcomes.


Complications associated with a bronchopleural fistula:

(1) atrial fibrillation

(2) empyema, with expectoration of purulent material

(3) pneumonia

(4) sepsis

(5) adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), with need for ventilatory support

(6) bleeding (intrathoracic, bronchial, other)

(7) pneumothorax


Less common complications may include:

(1) renal failure and/or multi-organ failure

(2) stroke

(3) acute myocardial infarction


The clinical manifestations may appear soon after surgery or be delayed, depending on the cause.


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