Acupuncture-Induced Tension Pneumothorax Presenting as Acute Heart Failure

Alia Arif Hussain*, Jeppe Nygaard, Kasper Kofod Pedersen, Celi Anne Schoenike, Erik Kovacs, Steen Hylgaard Jørgensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Takotsubo syndrome (TSS) is a reversible, acute cardiomyopathy with transient heart failure, often secondary to other disorders. A 64-year-old woman, with no history of ischemic heart disease, was admitted to the emergency department after developing sudden-onset dyspnea after a planned acupuncture treatment for back pain. Acute echocardiography showed decreased left ventricular function with basal hypercontraction and apical akinesia and was interpreted, and treated, as acute heart failure. When the attending cardiologist arrived, the patient still had dyspnea with a declining blood pressure (97/65 mmHg) and tachycardia (111/minute). The cardiologist suspected a tension pneumothorax induced by the penetration of an acupuncture needle to the apex of the lung, as well as secondary TSS cardiomyopathy. An acute chest X-ray was performed, which showed a large left-sided rim pneumothorax. The attending surgeon placed a chest tube in the left 6th intercostal space in the midaxillary line, and the patient reported immediate pain relief and improvement in her dyspnea. The patient's clinical condition improved, and a control X-ray showed that the lung was fully expanded. The chest tube was removed, but after a few minutes, the patient developed a massive subcutaneous emphysema in the upper chest and in the face and her clinical condition deteriorated rapidly. A new chest tube was inserted, and the patient's tachycardia diminished, with her clinical condition improving immediately. The patient remained hospitalized for the next seven days. After three continuous days without any escaped air in the chest tube, the tube was removed, and the patient was observed for another 48 hours. This time, the removal was without any complications and within two days, the patient was ready for discharge. The follow-up echocardiography showed complete recovery of left ventricular function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9986300
JournalCase reports in cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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Copyright © 2021 Alia Arif Hussain et al.


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