Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a treatment modality of early central located non-small-cell lung cancer, and in patients who are unsuitable for surgical intervention. Most complications of PDT reported in the literature are minor and can be easily handled. We report a case presenting with nearly fatal complication: airway obstruction following bronchoscopic photodynamic therapy for early endobronchial lung cancer, requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. An 81-year-old man was admitted to thoracic surgery division due to an early centrally located lung cancer. Due to multiple comorbidity and high surgical risk we performed bronchoscopic PDT instead of aggressive lung resection for the patient. After the procedure, he developed severe airway obstruction by tumor debris and required temporary cardiopulmonary support with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. The patient recovered smoothly after the episode and was free from tumor recurrence for >2 years without any neurological sequelae.
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