Subcutaneous Emphysema and Pneumomediastinum after Endotracheal Anaesthesia



    Download PDF


    Introduction: We report a case of subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum that presented postoperatively after tracheal extubation.

    Clinical Picture: A 51-year-old man had an uneventful anaesthesia lasting about 6.5 hours. Intubation was performed by a very junior medical officer and was considered difficult. He developed sore throat, chest pain, numbness of both hands and palpable crepitus around the neck postoperatively. Chest X-ray revealed diffuse subcutaneous emphysema, pneumomediastinum and possible pneumopericardium.

    Treatment: He was treated conservatively with bed rest, oxygen, analgesia, antibiotic prophylaxis, reassurance and close monitoring.

    Outcome: The patient made an uneventful recovery.

    Conclusions: We discussed the possible causes.

    Pneumomediastinum is a well-recognised clinical entity. It may present either intraoperatively or postoperatively from a number of possible causes.

    This article is available only as a PDF. Please click on “Download PDF” on top to view the full article.