Intraoperative pulmonary oedema in a young cocaine smoker

Prithi Pal Singh, Ivan Dimich, Adiba Shamsi

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This is a case of a 28-yr-old man who underwent general anaesthesia for emergency repair of a right lid laceration and lacrimal apparatus. Following induction of anaesthesia and local nasal application of phenylephrine (0.25%) he developed transient elevation of blood pressure, which was treated immediately with labetalol. Subsequently the patient developed acute pulmonary oedema which responded to treatment with morphine and furosemide. The diagnosis of pulmonary oedema was confirmed by blood gas studies, chest x-ray and serial echocardiograms. Subsequent investigation revealed that he was a cocaine user, as the urine tested positive for cocaine. Considering that the patient was young and otherwise healthy and that the hypertension was transient, it is unlikely that phenylephrine was the main cause of pulmonary oedema. Cardiac morbidity was most likely precipitated by the interaction of phenylephrine-induced hypertension with a cocaine-depressed myocardium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-964
Number of pages4
JournalCanadian Journal of Anaesthesia
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1994


  • complications: pulmonary oedema
  • drug abuse: cocaine


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