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Open Access Case report

Massive right hemothorax as the source of hemorrhagic shock after laparoscopic cholecystectomy - case report of a rare intraoperative complication

Rapicetta Cristian1*, Paci Massimiliano1, Ricchetti Tommaso1, Tenconi Sara1, Biolchini Federico2, Belluzzi Emilio2 and Sgarbi Giorgio1

Author Affiliations

1 Thoracic Surgery Unit, Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova, Viale Risorgimento 80, 42100 - Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy

2 Division of General Surgery, Magati Hospital, Via Martiri della Libertà 6, 42019 - Scandiano (Reggio nell'Emilia), Italy

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Patient Safety in Surgery 2011, 5:12  doi:10.1186/1754-9493-5-12

Published: 19 May 2011


A 62-year old man was referred to our institution in hemorrhagic shock after a laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis, performed at an outside hospital. A chest X-ray revealed a right-sided massive pleural effusion. Urgent surgical exploration was performed through a video-assisted mini-thoracotomy which revealed active bleeding from a pleural adherence. Successful hemostasis was achieved intraoperatively and the patient had an uneventful recovery. In absence of intra-abdominal hemorrhage, a hemothorax should be considered as a potential source of major bleeding in patients who develop symptoms of hypovolemia after laparoscopic surgery.