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Traumatic tracheostomy and spent bullet aspiration after a gunshot injury: A case report

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August 22, 2013
by Jack Barasa, MD; Peter M. Nthumba, MD; and Peter Bird, FRACS


Penetrating tracheal injuries are rare. Even rarer is the finding of intrabronchial foreign bodies caused by penetrating objects. We report a patient who experienced a gunshot injury to the trachea and mandible. The tracheal wound was debrided and used as a tracheostomy; a spent bullet in the bronchial tree was missed on initial evaluation but later successfully retrieved bronchoscopically. Spent bullet aspiration is a very rare occurrence. A careful examination of radiographs is essential to aid with the diagnosis. Flexible bronchoscopy is the best means of bullet retrieval. Management of any associated injuries is made easier after the airway is secured.

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