Iatrogenic Tension Pneumothorax Following Acupuncture Therapy – A Case Report

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Dr Muralidhara Yadiyal , Dr Nandita Shenoy , Dr Bhushan Shetty , Dr Ashok Shenoy K


Presence of air within the pleural cavity is defined as pneumothorax which implies that either visceral or parietal pleura have been disrupted. It has been found that the incidence of primary spontaneous pneumothorax is estimated between 2-18 cases per 100,000 population/year. The peak incidence is between the 2nd and 3rd decade of life. The incidence of primary spontaneous pneumothorax is high among smokers1. The occurrence of  pneumothorax where, intrapleural pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure throughout all or most of the respiratory cycle is known as tension pneumothorax. This condition is considered as medical emergency because there is an acute deterioration in cardio-pulmonary functions. Since ancient period for almost over 3000 years acupuncture has been used to treat health conditions including pain, yet it has only been in the last half a century that biochemistry and neurological imaging advances have allowed scientific understanding of its physiological mechanisms. The multiple lines of evidence is that endogenous opioid system is involved in acupuncture’s pain-relieving mechanisms. The large clinical trials of acupuncture for treating neck and lumbar pain, knee osteoarthritis, migraine and other pain conditions have been performed in the last two decades . The results of these trials confirm the acupuncture’s clinical efficacy in treating chronic pain. At the other end, lot  of adverse effects due to the procedure have been encountered but rarely reported. Common among them is improper needle hygiene, which can be a potential source of communicable diseases.

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