There is no current consensus on which lumen an airway exchange catheter (AEC) should be passed through in double-lumen endotracheal tube (DLT) to exchange for a single-lumen endotracheal tube (SLT) after thoracic surgery. We report an unusual case to provide possible solution on this issue. A 71-year-old man with lung adenocarcinoma had an event of a broken exchange catheter used during a DLT replacement with a SLT, after a video-assisted thoracic surgery. The exchange catheter was impinged at the distal tracheal lumen and snapped during manipulation. All three segments of the catheter were retrieved without further airway compromises. Placement of airway tube exchanger into the tracheal lumen of doublelumen tube is a potential contributing factor of the unusual complication. We suggest an exchange catheter be inserted into the bronchial lumen in optimal depth with the adjunct of video laryngoscope, as the safe method for double-lumen tube exchange.
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