Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is a rare clinical condition that may be mild but also dramatic with sudden onset of chest pain and dyspnea accompanied by swelling and subcutaneous crepitations. The objective of this study was to analyze the clinical presentation and outcome of SPM in a specialized pulmonary tertiary care centre over a 10 years year period. In subsequent followup, we received information related to recurrence episodes of SPM by patients or their GPs physicians. Eighteen patients, 15 (83%) men, mean age 24 years (SD ±7.86) were diagnosed with SPM. Predominant symptoms were chest pain and cough (n=11) then dyspnea (n=9). Asthma was the most common predisposing condition (n=12). Pneumomediastinum was present on chest radiograph in 17 cases (94%), and in one case it was detected only by computed tomography. The mean length of hospital stay was 7 days (SD ±4.4 days). All our patients recovered and there were no complications. Recurrent event occurred in one asthma patient, 2 years after the first episode. Although, SPM is usually a self-limiting and benign condition, close monitoring is necessary. Recurrence is rare, but possible, with no evidence that routine monitoring of those patients is needed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.