An Atypical Complicated Left-sided Bronchopleural Fistula Presenting More Than Seven Months After Lobectomy


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



Bronchopleural fistula, Lobectomy, Adenocarcinoma, Pulmonology, Case report


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pulmonology | Respiratory Tract Diseases



Bronchopleural fistulas (BPF) are abnormal sinus tracts connecting the bronchi and pleural cavity and form after surgical resection of a lung lobe. It is a complication with potentially disastrous sequelae including, failure of the bronchial stump to heal, ischemia of the affected area, and/or infection of the stump. Bronchopleural fistulas caused by surgical intervention most commonly present on the right side and within 7–12 days post-operatively, i.e., subacutely. While the fistula may initially be asymptomatic, they carry a mortality rate of 25–71% in the absence of other comorbidities.

Case presentation

A 60-year-old female developed a BPF more than seven months after a left lower lobe lung lobectomy for non-small cell adenocarcinoma is presented. She was seen at our hospital on multiple occasions after her lobectomy with no evidence of a developing fistula on chest computer tomography (CT) during those visits. During her most recent presentation, roughly 7 months postoperatively, she was noted on imaging to have a new left-sided bronchopleural fistula. Bronchoscopy with lavage and culture of the fistula grew Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, for which she received appropriate treatment. Further surgical interventions were deferred due to poor prognosis. Her presentation differed from the typical BPF presentation in that it was left-sided and occurred out of the window of its usual occurrence.


Late-onset BPF is an important diagnosis to consider in patients who have undergone lung resection, regardless of the type of surgery or postoperative duration, especially when patients are known to have multiple predisposing factors.

Publisher or Conference

Respiratory Medicine Case Reports