Thoracic trauma (pneumomediastinum, subcutaneous emphysema and rib fractures)

Case contributed by Juni Tenison


Patient with recent fall from stairs. Presented to the ED with stable vital signs, pain in the posterior right chest, mild dyspnea. Vital signs - RR 140/70, pulse 80x', respiratory rate 15x', SpO2 with room air of 92%.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Female

This case illustrates complications after traumatic fall from insignificant height.

  • subcutaneous air emphysema
  • pneumomediastinum
  • posterior rib fractures on the right V-VIII
  • possible right distal clavicle fracture

Note: On additional CT-scan rib fractures V-IX were noted, other bony structures intact, trachea/esophageal rupture not seen, bilateral pneumothorax, right hemothorax. No pathology seen on head CT-scan. 

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