“Flash Fire” Ignites In Man’s Chest During Heart Surgery

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Flash Fire ignites in man's chest
Source: Modern Healthcare

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.

References

Rare ‘Flash Fire’ Ignites in Man’s Chest Cavity During Surgery https://www.livescience.com/65615-chest-cavity-fire-surgery.html

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.

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