CXR Case 121

An 18 year old man presents to ED after a heavy night out, vomiting profusely. He presents to ED with chest pain and swelling in his neck.

CXR CASE 121 CXR LITFL

Describe and interpret this CXR

CHEST X-RAY INTERPRETATION

There is air visible between the inferior border of the heart and the diaphragm, and surgical emphysema in the neck.

No pneumothorax visible, normal pleura.

Lung parenchyma looks normal. No evidence of trauma.


CLINICAL CORRELATION

Pneumomediastinum is associated with anything that will transiently raise the intra-thoracic pressure high enough to rupture a hole in the visceral pleura, in this case into the mediastinum.

This may include pre-existing lung / parenchymal disease or, as in this case, indiscretion with beer.

Observation only is required in the majority of cases.


CLINICAL PEARLS

In 1724, Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738) described a rupture of the oesophagus with gastric contents ejected into the pleural space, frequently associated with vomiting and resultant pneumomediastinum (Boerhaave syndrome).

There is no evidence of this in this case, but it is a condition not to be missed with a high mortality if unrecognized.


TOP 150 CXR SERIES



Prof Fraser Brims Curtin Medical School, acute and respiratory medicine specialist, immediate care in sport doc, ex-Royal Navy, academic| Top 100 CXR | Google Scholar |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.