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Fatal Pulmonary Hemorrhage After Use of the Flow-Directed Balloon-Tipped Catheter

L. A. PAPE, M.D.; C. I. HAFFAJEE, M.B.; J. E. MARKIS, M.D.; I. S. OCKENE, M.D.; J. A. PARASKOS, M.D.; J. E. DALEN, M.D.; and J. S. ALPERT, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to L. A. Pape, M.D.; Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, 55 Lake Avenue North; Worcester, MA 01605.


Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts


© 1979 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1979;90(3):344-347. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-90-3-344
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The flow-directed balloon-tipped catheter is extensively used in intensive care units, catheterization laboratories, operating rooms, and emergency wards. Major complications associated with its use have not been frequently reported. In a recent 2-year period in four hospitals, we identified five cases of fatal pulmonary hemorrhage resulting from balloon-tipped catheters. We review here four additional cases previously cited in the literature and discuss possible mechanisms and predisposing factors associated with this complication and guidelines for safe use of these catheters. Pulmonary artery rupture is probably commoner than previously reported.

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