Health Care

Patient Catches on Fire During Heart Surgery

Patient Catches on Fire During Heart Surgery”

The presenters said that the patient, a 60-year-old man, was in surgery last year for the fix of a tear in the inner layer of the aorta wall in the chest, according to the European Society of Anaesthesiology.

The odd case was reported by the doctors this weekend at the Euroanaesthesia Congress, the annual convention of the European Society of Anaesthesiology. What might be even more unbelievable, however, is that this isn't the first time a surgery patient's chest caught on fire.

The man in which the fire broke out had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had already undergone surgery just a year earlier. This severely complicated the medical procedure for the doctors.

There was so much gas leaking out of the man's lungs, the surgical team commented they could smell the anaesthetic in the air. Despite careful dissection, one of these bullae was punctured causing a substantial air leak. Doctors then increased the amount of oxygen in the patient's anesthesia to prevent respiratory distress.

Part of the surgery required the use of electrocautery, a device that uses heat to burn away or cut through tissue.

Disaster struck right after the doctors changed the patient's air.

The hospital staff were able to put out the fire and continue the surgery without any further hiccups.

Apparently, this was not the only case of a flash fire erupting during surgery. That's when a spark from the electrocautery device ignited the dry surgical pack that was placed near the man's exposed chest cavity.

Addressing the room full of doctors at the worldwide conference, Shaylor said it should act as a warning of the potential dangers of dry surgical packs in the oxygen-rich environment of the operating theatre where electrocautery devices are used.

The man visited the hospital in southeastern Australia, and medics found he had a tear in his aorta-the main artery which takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Though their case is the first, according to their account, to involve this particular kind of surgery.

Flash fires during surgery are considered to be a very rare occurrence.

"This case highlights the continued need for fire training and prevention strategies and quick intervention to prevent injury whenever electrocautery is used in oxygen-enriched environments", said lead author Ruth Shaylor in a summary of the case.

Upon opening the 60-year-old man's chest cavity, the surgeons noticed that there was a large bullae (air pocket cyst) on his lung.



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