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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2003 June;55(3):293-6

language: English

Spontaneous pneumomediastinum: is a chest X-ray sufficient?

Gardikis S., Tsalkidis A., Limas C., Antypas S., Manavis I., Chatzimicael A., Arvanitidou V., Simopoulos C.


Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is an uncommon disease defined as a non-traumatic presence of free air in the mediastinum, without underlying disease. We present a 13-year- old boy who was previously in a perfect health, who was presented with subcutaneous cervical emphysema, dysphagia, chest and neck pain. The chest roentgenogram revealed the presence of subcutaneous emphysema without any other abnormal findings. A computer tomography (CT) scan was obtained, and this confirmed the existence of subcutaneous cervical emphysema and also the presence of pneumomediastinum. The child's progress was uneventful and after 6 days he was discharged from the hospital in excellent clinical condition. We propose that chest CT is useful, in less obvious cases of SPM, to detect the free air in the mediastinum and probably SPM is underdiagnosed in clinical practice in the young people.

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