Air in retropharyngeal space

Case contributed by Dr Thuan Tzen, Koh

Presentation

Difficulty breathing and dysphagia.

Patient Data

Age: 25
Gender: Male
Modality: X-ray

Thin air is seen within the retropharyngeal space and also tracks anteriorly along other neck fascial planes. No radiopaque foreign body such as a bone is identified within the soft tissues of the neck.  

Case Discussion

Air within the retropharyngeal space and tracking anteriorly along other neck fascial planes. The cause of the air leak may be a local perforation of the upper aerodigestive tract or the air may have tracked from the chest such as may be seen in pneumomediastinum related to asthma or with oesophageal perforation. Clinical correlation and chest x-ray would be useful for further clarification. Contrast swallow under fluoroscopy could be used to exclude a pharyngeal or oesophageal leak if required. 

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Case Information

rID: 34749
Case created: 7th Mar 2015
Last edited: 23rd Sep 2015
System: Head & Neck
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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