A man was hospitalised after tearing a hole in his throat while trying to stop a sneeze.
The patient was taken to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, with severe neck pain after he pinched his nose and closed his mouth to stifle the sneeze.
The man, in his 30s, underwent treatment and hospital scans which revealed a 2mm rip in his windpipe.
The unnamed man, who was driving at the time of the incident, had a history of allergies and throat irritation.
Upon initial examination it was found that the man had little movement in his neck and doctors heard a cracking sound when touching his neck.
After contacting cardiothoracic surgeons it was deemed that no surgical intervention was needed as the patient was “systemically well”.
The patient was discharged home after 48 hours under observation with painkillers and hayfever medication.
He was also told to avoid strenuous physical activities for two weeks.
A follow-up CT scan of the neck and chest was performed five weeks later revealed that the tear had healed.
The report states that sudden throat tear, known medically as a “spontaneous tracheal perforation” is rare but can be potentially life-threatening.
Lead author on the report, Dr Rasads Misirovs, said that the cause of the tear was a “rapid build-up of pressure in the trachea while sneezing with a pinched nose and closed mouth”.
Dr Misirovs advised everyone not to stifle sneezes by pinching the nose while keeping the mouth closed, as it can result in tracheal perforation.
The case has been documented in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports.
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