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Intrathoracic fire during preparation of the left internal thoracic artery for coronary artery bypass grafting

Martin Friedrich1*, Theodor Tirilomis1, Jan D Schmitto12, Aron F Popov1, Suyog A Mokashi2, Marc Hinterthaner1, Gunnar G Hanekop3, Paul Zwaka4 and Friedrich A Schoendube1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

2 Division of Cardiac Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

3 Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

4 Department of Radiology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

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Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 2010, 5:10  doi:10.1186/1749-8090-5-10

Published: 10 March 2010


A surgical fire is a serious complication not previously described in the literature with regard to the thoracic cavity. We report a case in which an intrathoracic fire developed following an air leak combined with high pressure oxygen ventilation in a patient with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The patient presented to our institution with diffuse coronary artery disease and angina pectoris. He was treated with coronary artery bypass graft surgery, including left internal thoracic artery harvesting. Additionally to this rare presentation of an intrathoracic fire, a brief review of surgical fires is included to this paper.