Spontaneous air everywhere

Case contributed by Dr Jeremy Jones


Acute onset chest pain and breathlessness with no trauma or past medical history.

Patient Data

Age: 25 years
Gender: Female

Extensive surgical emphysema and pneumomediastinum without pneumothorax. The cause for the air leak is not demonstrated.

Case Discussion

This young girl was admitted with acute severe chest pain caused by spontaneous pneumomediastinum and surgical emphysema.  The cause isn't demonstrated on the CT and no clear cause was elicited from the history.

It is unusual to have this degree of pneumomediastinum and surgical emphysema without a pneumothorax. The leading cause of spontaneous air leak would be secondary to bleb rupture in an asthmatic.

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Case information

rID: 14231
Published: 8th Jul 2011
Last edited: 13th Aug 2020
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included