Spontaneous pneumomediastinum

Case contributed by Mr Andrew Murphy

Presentation

Acute onset pleuritic chest pain shortness of breath. No trauma.

Patient Data

Age: 20 years
Gender: Male
X-ray

A pneumomediastinum is outlining the cardiac contour.  It can be seen extending through to the soft tissues of the neck.

CT

The pneumomediastinum extends to the diaphragm and extends into the retropharyngeal and carotid spaces of the partially imaged neck. There is no evidence as to the cause of this pneumomediastinum in this series.

Case Discussion

Spontaneous pneumomediastinum is rare, primarily seen in the young adult male population.

Patients will present with acute chest pain that can radiate anterior, posterior and/or superior to the jaw.

It is important to ensure the patient, has not suffered an esophageal perforation.

Computed tomography is the gold standard in the diagnosis of spontaneous pneumomediastinum, with some papers claiming up to 30% of chest x-rays with spontaneous pneumomediastinum reported as normal.

Treatment is often conservative, as was the plan for the above patient 1,2.

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 49954
Case created: 12th Dec 2016
Last edited: 11th Jun 2017
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

Updating… Please wait.
Loadinganimation

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.