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Sudden loss of ventilation through a double lumen endotracheal tube requiring emergency provision of a surgical airway by bronchotomy

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A left completion pneumonectomy operation for primary lung cancer (left lower lobectomy) was complicated by sudden loss of ability to ventilate the patient via the double lumen endotracheal tube. The problem could not be overcome by the anesthesiologist. In the face of impending cardiorespiratory arrest a single lumen tube was introduced through an incision in the left main bronchus through to the right main bronchus. This life-saving manoeuvre safeguarded the airway and permitted a successful outcome to the operation.

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Correspondence to Robert Torrance.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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About this article


  • Public Health
  • Lung Cancer
  • Successful Outcome
  • Main Bronchus
  • Primary Lung Cancer