Spontaneous pneumomediastinum: Diagnostic and therapeutic interventions

Faisal Al-Mufarrej, Jehangir Badar, Farid Gharagozloo, Barbara Tempesta, Eric Strother, Marc Margolis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objective of this case series is to review our experience with spontaneous pneumomediastinum, review the available literature, and refine the current clinical approach to this uncommon condition. Methods: The case notes of all patients admitted to the George Washington University Medical Center with spontaneous pneumomediastinum from April 2005 to June 2008 were retrospectively reviewed, indentifying seventeen patients on whom various data was collected and analyzed. Results: The typical patient is a young man. The commonest presenting complaint is chest pain. Odynophagia and subcutaneous emphysema are common. Leucocytosis is uncommon. The need for swallow studies, antibiotics, and prolonged hospitalization is uncommon. Most patients have no recurrences or sequelae on long-term follow-up. Conclusion: Spontaneous pneumomediastinum is an uncommon, self-limiting condition. Due to concerns for the integrity of the aero-digestive tract, the finding of spontaneous pneumomediastinum usually results in unnecessary radiological investigations, dietary restriction and antibiotic administration with prolonged hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 3 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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