Cardiopulmonary MedicineCase Report

Spontaneous Pneumomediastinum in a Pediatric Patient After a 1600m Run: Case Report and Literature Review

CPT Zachary C. Booms, DO, and MAJ George A. Barbee, PA-C
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: December 24, 2014

Accepted: February 5, 2015

Published: May 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(5): 338-341

Pneumomediastinum occurs as a result of traumatic or iatrogenic causes or in patients with preexisting lung conditions such as interstitial lung disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Spontaneous pneumomedi-astinum (SPM), however, is rarely seen in clinical practice. The authors report the case of a 14-year-old boy who presented to the emergency department with chest discomfort and shortness of breath after a 1600-m run as part of a physical education class. The patient was found to have SPM, was admitted to the pediatric service for monitoring and pain control, and made a full recovery within 24 hours. This case is notable because SPM occurred in the absence of identifable organic causes and as the result of sustained noncontact physical activity. A review of the literature provides background information and highlights pathophysiologic processes of SPM and suggested treatment. Physicians should consider pneu-momediastinum in young patients or runners presenting with chest pain even in the absence of any known inciting event.

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