Hemothorax induced by severe cough: An unusual presentation.

May 9, 2019

Massive hemothorax resulting from cough-induced rib fracture is a condition in which blood accumulates in the chest, compromising the lungs and mediastinal structures. The most common cause of massive hemothorax is acute pro-traumatic injury. We present a case of a 47-year-old gentleman with morbid obesity and psoriasis, who was admitted to the emergency department due to shortness of breath that has been increased progressively after coughing for a period of 2 weeks. Chest radiograph demonstrated a large density in the left hemithorax, collapsing the left lung. Chest computerized tomography showed a left seventh rib fracture and massive pleural effusion. A closed chest tube thoracostomy was performed draining 3 L of hemorrhagic effusion, likely due to bleeding from the intercostal artery tear due to severe and prolonged cough. Cough-induced hemothorax due to spontaneous rib fractures are rare and clinicians should be well aware of this entity to prevent hemorrhagic shock and organ damage.

as reported in: Camarillo-Reyes LA, Marquez-Córdova RI, Surani S, Varon J. SAGE Open Med Case Rep. 2019:7:2050313X19846043. doi: 10.1177/2050313X19846043.