Modified blowhole skin incision using negative pressure wound therapy in the treatment of ventilator-related severe subcutaneous emphysema
Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
OBJECTIVES: A 2-3-cm blowhole incision in the supraclavicular or infraclavicular area is widely used to eliminate the presence of subcutaneous air in cases of life-threatening subcutaneous emphysema (SE). However, when the patient is supported by mechanical ventilation, it is difficult to eliminate completely such air because mechanical ventilation leads consistently to the formation of large amounts of air. To overcome this, we applied negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) along with blowhole
... along with blowhole incisions for the treatment of severe SE. METHODS: To evaluate the feasibility of NPWT, we retrospectively analysed the clinical outcomes of 10 patients who developed severe SE during ventilator care and were treated with a modified blowhole incision using NPWT from RESULTS: All patients showed immediate improvement in SE after NPWT, and no symptom aggravation occurred after NPWT. The mean duration of NPWT was 7.5 ± 5.1 (range, 3-14) days, and the mean number of dressing changes was 1.5 ± 0.7 (range, 1-2). There were no blowhole-incision-related wound infections or any other complications. CONCLUSIONS: While it is not necessary to apply a blowhole incision with NPWT in all cases of SE, this therapy can be helpful for patients with severe SE associated with mechanical ventilation requiring rapid decompression.