Tobushi et al. International Journal of Emergency Medicine (2015) 8:43 DOI 10.1186/s12245-015-0089-9

CLINICAL IMAGE

Open Access

Exercise-induced pneumomediastinum Tomoyuki Tobushi1, Kazuya Hosokawa2*, Keita Matsumoto3 and Toshiaki Kadokami1

Abstract Background: A sudden onset of chest pain, which often reflects a life-threatening disease, requires prompt diagnosis in the emergency department. Findings: A 12-year-old boy presented with sustained chest pain and dyspnea after diving into a swimming pool and was transferred to our emergency department. A chest examination noted a crunching and rasping sound at the precordium, synchronous with the heartbeat. Chest radiography showed lucent streaks and the mediastinal pleura at the left cardiac outline. Additionally, computed tomography showed massive pneumomediastinum surrounding the heart. Thus, he was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumomediastinum. Conclusions: Spontaneous pneumomediastinum should be considered in the differential diagnosis of chest pain. In addition to medical history-taking, careful physical examination, which can identify the characteristic finding of a friction sound synchronous with the heartbeat (Hamman’s sound), will help in the immediate diagnosis of spontaneous pneumomediastinum. Keywords: Spontaneous pneumomediastinum, Chest pain, Emergency medicine, Sports medicine

Findings

1 week of rest, and he completely recovered without any complications.

Case synopsis

A 12-year-old boy presenting with sustained precordial discomfort and dyspnea was transferred to our emergency department. Medical history-taking revealed that he suddenly experienced this discomfort immediately after diving into a swimming pool. His vital signs, including respiratory rate, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature, were within normal limits. A chest examination noted a crunching and rasping sound at the precordium, synchronous with the heartbeat. Electrocardiography showed no significant abnormalities, and blood analysis only showed a slight elevation of the white blood cell count. Chest radiography showed lucent streaks and the mediastinal pleura at the left cardiac outline (Fig. 1). Additionally, computed tomography showed massive pneumomediastinum surrounding the heart (Fig. 2). Thus, he was diagnosed with spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM). Esophagography ruled out esophageal perforation. The pneumomediastinum spontaneously reduced after

* Correspondence: [email protected] 2 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kyushu University Hospital, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, 812-8582 Fukuoka, Japan Full list of author information is available at the end of the article

Spontaneous pneumomediastinum

SPM is an uncommon condition in patients with chest pain (0.3 %) [1]. Most patients are male adolescents [2], and preexisting bronchial asthma primarily causes SPM. However, an exertional increase in airway pressure induced by daily activities (weightlifting or sports) often causes alveolar rupture, leading to SPM, even in the absence of underlying lung disease [3, 4]. Although most patients require hospitalization for observation or treatment (92 %), almost all are discharged within a few days, without further complications [5, 6]. However, as effort rupture of the esophagus (Boerhaave’s syndrome) or blunt chest trauma, which can cause pneumomediastinum, often requires intensive care [7, 8], it should be ruled out in the early period. SPM should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sudden chest pain, especially in young patients. In addition to medical history-taking, careful physical examination, which can identify the characteristic finding of a friction sound synchronous with the heartbeat (Hamman’s sound), will help in the immediate diagnosis of SPM.

© 2015 Tobushi et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Tobushi et al. International Journal of Emergency Medicine (2015) 8:43

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Abbreviations SPM: spontaneous pneumomediastinum. Competing interests The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Authors’ contributions TT and TK drafted the manuscript. KH and KM treated the patient. KH helped to draft the manuscript and revised it. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Authors’ information TT is the medical director of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital. KH was the medical director of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital and presently works as the chief of pulmonary artery intervention at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kyushu University Hospital. KM is the medical director of the Department of Respirology, Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital. TK is the deputy director of Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital. Acknowledgements None

Fig. 1 A chest radiograph of the mediastinal pleura

Author details 1 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital, 3-13-1 Yumachi, Chikushino-shi, 818-8516 Fukuoka, Japan. 2Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kyushu University Hospital, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, 812-8582 Fukuoka, Japan. 3Department of Respirology, Saiseikai Futsukaichi Hospital, 3-13-1 Yumachi, Chikushino-shi, Fukuoka, Japan. Received: 1 September 2015 Accepted: 19 October 2015

References 1. Yellin A, Gapany-Gapanavicius M, Lieberman Y. Spontaneous pneumomediastinum: is it a rare cause of chest pain? Thorax. 1983;38:383–5. 2. Macia I, Moya J, Ramos R, Morera R, Escobar I, Saumench J, et al. Spontaneous pneumomediastinum: 41 cases. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2007; 31:1110–4. 3. Booms ZC, Barbee GA. Spontaneous pneumomediastinum in a pediatric patient after a 1600-m run: case report and literature review. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2015;115:338–41. 4. Berger N, Nichols J, Yap V, Datta D. An unusual cause of acute-onset chest pain: spontaneous pneumomediastinum. Conn Med. 2015;79:201–5. 5. Al-Mufarrej F, Badar J, Gharagozloo F, Tempesta B, Strother E, Margolis M. Spontaneous pneumomediastinum: diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. J Cardiothorac Surg. 2008;3:59. 6. Fitzwater JW, Silva NN, Knight CG, Malvezzi L, Ramos-Irizarry C, Burnweit CA. Management of spontaneous pneumomediastinum in children. J Pediatr Surg. 2015;50:983–6. 7. van der Weg G, Wikkeling M, van Leeuwen M, ter Avest E. A rare case of oesophageal rupture: Boerhaave’s syndrome. Int J Emerg Med. 2014;7:27. 8. Porhomayon J, Doerr R. Pneumothorax and subcutaneous emphysema secondary to blunt chest injury. Int J Emerg Med. 2015;4:10.

Fig. 2 A computed tomography image showing massive pneumomediastinum surrounding the heart

Exercise-induced pneumomediastinum.

A sudden onset of chest pain, which often reflects a life-threatening disease, requires prompt diagnosis in the emergency department...
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