Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


Publication continuous and bimonthly

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Current Issue: 2016 - Volume 42 - Number 3 (May/June)


Implications of a tracheal bronchus in a patient with thymoma

Implicações de um brônquio traqueal em um paciente com timoma


Luis Gorospe1; Ana Paz Valdebenito-Montecino2; Ana Patricia Ovejero-Díaz2


1. Departamento de Radiología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.
2. Departamento de Cirugía Torácica, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, España.




A 68-year-old woman with myasthenia gravis underwent a CT scan of the chest, which revealed a 4-cm solid mass in the anterior mediastinum, consistent with a thymoma (Figure 1). A type II tracheal bronchus, arising 3 cm above the cari-na, was incidentally detected on the CT scan (Figure 2). The patient was scheduled for elective surgery (thoracoscopy). An endobronchial blocker was inserted through a rigid bronchoscope and deployed in the left main bronchus for ventilation of the right lung. A 9-mm cuffed oral tracheal tube was placed above the offset of the tracheal bronchus in order to properly ventilate all zones of the right lung. The thoracic surgeons successfully resected the anterior mediastinal thymoma via a left thoracoscopic approach.

The presence of an asymptomatic congenital anomaly of the tracheobronchial tree in thoracic surgery patients can be challenging not only to thoracic surgeons but also to anesthesiologists. The most common anomaly (reported in up to 3% of the population) is a tracheal bronchus that supplies the right upper lobe. When one-lung ventilation is contemplated in these patients, anesthesiologists should avoid blocking the tracheal bronchus by using a left bronchial blocker and placing a tracheal tube proximal to the level of the tracheal bronchus, so that all zones of the right lung can be ventilated. Our case highlights the surgical challenges as well as the airway management implications of a patient presenting with a tracheal bronchus and an anterior mediastinal mass.


1. Wooten C, Patel S, Cassidy L, Watanabe K, Matusz P, Tubbs RS, et al. Variations of the tracheobronchial tree: anatomical and clinical significance. Clin Anat. 2014;27(8):1223-33.



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