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Open Access Research

Case report: A ball valve blood clot in the airways – life-saving whole tube suction

Dave A Dongelmans1, Rene E Jonkers2 and Marcus J Schultz3*

Author Affiliations

1 Anaesthesiologist-Intensivist, Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Pulmonologist, Department of Pulmonology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Internist-Intensivist, Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Critical Care 2004, 8:R289-R290  doi:10.1186/cc2903

Published: 28 June 2004

Abstract

Respiratory tract obstruction due to a blood clot may result in life threatening ventilatory impairment. Ball valve blood clot obstructions of the airways are rare. A ball valve blood clot acts as a one-way valve, allowing (near) normal air entry into the airways, but (completely) blocking expiration. In a near fatal case of obstruction of the airways by a ball valve blood clot, we performed 'whole tube suction' to resolve the airway problem.

Keywords:
blood clot; airway obstruction; suction; tracheostomy