Hemothorax caused by vertebral exostoses

Jamel EL Ghoul, Soued Ferjani

PAMJ. 2019; 33:232. Published 18 Jul 2019 | doi:10.11604/pamj.2019.33.232.17846

Spontaneous hemothorax is a rare condition and sometimes occurs during anticoagulant therapy for venous thromboembolism. Other causes of the condition are bleeding disorders, complication of spontaneous pneumothorax and pleural malignancy. Vertebral exostosis represents an exceptional etiology of hemothorax, as a result of direct traumatic injury of the pleura or diaphragm by the intrathoracic tumour. Exostosis often occurs in hereditary multiple exostoses, but can also be isolated. We present a case of spontaneous hemothorax in a patient with vertebral exostoses and propose a new etiology of hemothorax. A 22-year-old man with no specific history elements and no previous trauma presented has been experiencing a right-sided pleuritic chest pain and respiratory discomfort for 6 days. Physical examination revealed dullness to percussion and decreased breath sounds on the right side of the chest. Chest x-ray showed right pleural effusion and diagnostic thoracocentesis revealed gross blood. Pleural effusion's hematocrit was 52%, while that of the peripheral blood was 39%. Hemothorax was diagnosed. Thoracic Computed tomography scan (CT-scan) (A and B, arrows) followed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed the presence of two vertebral exostoses arising from the right transverse processes of the 10th and 11th thoracic vertebrae (C and D, arrows). These, encroached on the 11th intercostal space. The hemothorax was managed successfully with chest-tube insertion. However, surgical resection of exostoses was indicated in our patient given the risk of loco-regional complications, and the recurrence of the hemothorax. The postoperative course was uneventful and the patient was followed without recurrent hemothorax for two years.
Corresponding author
Jamel EL Ghoul, Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Service, Medenine Hospital, Medenine, Tunisia (j.elghoul@hotmail.fr)

This image

Articles published in PAMJ are Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

eISSN: 1937-8688


The Pan African Medical Journal (ISSN: 1937-8688) is a subsidiary of the Pan African Medical Journal. The contents of this journal is intended exclusively for professionals in the medical, paramedical and public health and other health sectors.

Currently tracked by: DOAJ, AIM, Google Scholar, AJOL, EBSCO, Scopus, Embase, IC, HINARI, Global Health, PubMed Central, PubMed/Medline, ESCI

Physical address: Kenya: 3rd Floor, Park Suite Building, Parkland Road, Nairobi. PoBox 38583-00100, tel: +254 (0)20-520-4356 | Cameroon: Immeuble TechnoPark Essos, Yaounde, PoBox: 10020 Yaounde, tel: +237 (0)24-309-5880