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Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra

versión impresa ISSN 1137-6627


MARTINEZ, E. et al. Respiratory emergencies. Anales Sis San Navarra [online]. 2004, vol.27, suppl.3, pp.87-97. ISSN 1137-6627.

Respiratory emergencies in a patient with cancer can have their origin in pathologies of the airway, of the pulmonary parenchyma or the large vessels. The cause can be the tumour itself or concomitant complications. Obstruction of the airway should be initially evaluated with endoscopic procedures. Surgery is rarely possible in serious situations. The endobronchial placement of stents or radioactive isotopes (brachytherapy), tumoural ablation by laser or photodynamic therapy can quickly alleviate the symptoms and re-establish the air flow. Treatment of haemoptysis depends on the cause that is provoking it and on its quantity. Bronchoscopy continues to be the front line procedure in the majority of cases; it provides diagnostic information and can interrupt bleeding through washes with ice-cold serum, endobronchial plugging or topical injections of adrenaline or thrombin. External radiotherapy continues to be an extraordinarily useful procedure in treating haemoptysis caused by tumours and in carefully selected situations of endobronchial therapy with laser or brachytherapy, and bronchial arterial embolisation can provide a great palliative effect. Respiratory emergencies due to pulmonary parenchyma disease in the oncology patient can have a tumoural, iatrogenic or infectious cause. Early recognition of each of these will determine the administration of a specific treatment and the possibilities of success.

Palabras clave : Respiratory emergencies; Airway Obstruction; Haemoptysis; Parenchymatous pulmonary pathology.

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