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Chest x-ray and chest CT scan after tube thoracostomy shows hemopericardium (arrow).
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Figure 1: Chest x-ray and chest CT scan after tube thoracostomy shows hemopericardium (arrow).

Mentions: A 54-year-old woman, who was previously healthy, presented to the local hospital with dyspnea and chest discomfort 30 minutes after acupuncture. She sought the help of an acupuncturist for myalgia and dyspepsia. Acupuncture was performed to her chest (upper 5 cm, 3 cm left and right points from the mid lower xiphoid process border) and epigastric area (lower 3 cm point from the mid lower xiphoid process border) by an unauthorized acupuncturist. A right-sided pneumothorax was diagnosed on a chest X-ray, and a tube thoracostomy was performed. A hemopericardium was diagnosed on a chest CT scan after a thoracostomy (Fig. 1). She was transferred to our hospital for further treatment.

Hemopericardium Following Acupuncture

Kim JH, Kim SH, Lee YJ, Hong JS, Ahn R, Hong ES - Yonsei Med. J. (2011)

Bottom Line: A chest CT scan and echocardiography revealed a hemopericardium, and pericardiocentesis was then immediately and successfully performed.Subsequently, her clinical course improved.This case increases the attention of emergency physicians for acupuncture-related complications, especially hemopericardium, and the necessity of rapid diagnosis and management.

Affiliation: Department of Emergency Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

ABSTRACT
Acupuncture-related hemopericardium is a rare but potentially fatal complication. We describe a hemopericardium that occurred shortly after acupuncture in a 55-year-old woman. A chest CT scan and echocardiography revealed a hemopericardium, and pericardiocentesis was then immediately and successfully performed. Subsequently, her clinical course improved. This case increases the attention of emergency physicians for acupuncture-related complications, especially hemopericardium, and the necessity of rapid diagnosis and management.

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