When you think about the most bizarre things that could happen during surgery, a “flash fire” in the chest cavity isn’t really on the list.
This article highlights the case of an Australian patient who experienced a “flash fire” in his chest while doctors were performing an emergency heart surgery on him. What’s more, the fire was so prolonged that it required a “continued need for fire training and prevention strategies”, said study lead author Dr. Ruth Shaylor, of the Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine at Austin Health in Melbourne, Australia.
What caused the ” flash fire”?
The risk of fires increases in the presence high oxygen levels in the environment and a source of heat. Such was the circumstance in this case. In addition, patients with COPD are at an increased risk fires occurring. In this case, a 60-year-old male patient was undergoing surgery for a life-threatening tear in his aortic artery. Doctors had previously diagnosed him with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
When the surgeons opened up the man’s chest, they saw that the man’s right lung was stuck to his sternum. This had caused some of the lung tissue to become overinflated. A common manifestation of COPD known as “bullae”. Doctors accidentally ruptured on the bullae while trying to access the man’s chest which cause a leakage of air. The doctors then gave the patient a higher dose of supplemental oxygen to avoid any breathing problems.
The surgeons later required the use of an electrocautery device that heats up tissues for preventing blood vessels from bleeding. However, as soon as the doctors used the device, a fire ignited on the surgical gauze. Surgeons quickly extinguished the fire using normal saline without causing any injury to the patient.
Despite the bizarre incident, the surgeons were able to successfully repair the patient’s aortic tear.
Rare ‘Flash Fire’ Ignites in Man’s Chest Cavity During Surgery https://www.livescience.com/65615-chest-cavity-fire-surgery.html