Skip to main content

18.06.2020 | COVID-19 | Case Report | Ausgabe 6/2020 Open Access

Infection 6/2020

Secondary tension pneumothorax in a COVID-19 pneumonia patient: a case report

Infection > Ausgabe 6/2020
Judith E. Spiro, Snezana Sisovic, Ben Ockert, Wolfgang Böcker, Georg Siebenbürger
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s15010-020-01457-w) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Especially in elderly and multimorbid patients, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) may result in severe pneumonia and secondary complications. Recent studies showed pneumothorax in rare cases, but tension pneumothorax has only been reported once.

Case presentation

A 47-year-old male was admitted to the emergency department with fever, dry cough and sore throat for the last 14 days as well as acute stenocardia and shortage of breath. Sputum testing (polymerase chain reaction, PCR) confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Initial computed tomography (CT) showed bipulmonary groundglass opacities and consolidations with peripheral distribution. Hospitalization with supportive therapy (azithromycin) as well as non-invasive oxygenation led to a stabilization of the patient. After 5 days, sputum testing was negative and IgA/IgG antibody titres were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The patient was discharged after 7 days.
On the 11th day, the patient realized pronounced dyspnoea after coughing and presented to the emergency department again. CT showed a right-sided tension pneumothorax, which was relieved by a chest drain (Buelau) via mini open thoracotomy. Negative pressure therapy resulted in regression of the pneumothorax and the patient was discharged after 9 days of treatment.


Treating physicians should be aware that COVID-19 patients might develop severe secondary pulmonary complications such as acute tension pneumothorax.

Level of evidence


Unsere Produktempfehlungen

Neuer Inhalt

e.Med Interdisziplinär


Für Ihren Erfolg in Klinik und Praxis - Die beste Hilfe in Ihrem Arbeitsalltag als Mediziner

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf

e.Med Innere Medizin


Mit e.Med Innere Medizin erhalten Sie Zugang zu CME-Fortbildungen des Fachgebietes Innere Medizin, den Premium-Inhalten der internistischen Fachzeitschriften, inklusive einer gedruckten internistischen Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl.

Weitere Produktempfehlungen anzeigen
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 6/2020

Infection 6/2020 Zur Ausgabe

Coronavirus Corona-Update

Die aktuelle Entwicklung im Überblick: Nachrichten, Webinare, Übersichtsarbeiten.