The incidence and clinical significance of pneumomediastinum found on computed tomography scan in blunt trauma patients

Daniela Molena, Nicole Burr, Andrea Zucchiatti, Erik Lovria, Mark L. Gestring, Julius D. Cheng, Paul E. Bankey, Nicole A. Stassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

With the increased use of chest computed tomography (CT) scan in the initial evaluation of major trauma, findings that were not seen on a chest radiograph (CXR) are increasingly identified. Pneumomediastinum (PM) seen on CXR in blunt trauma patients is considered worrisome for airway and/or esophageal injury. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and clinical significance of PM found on CT in blunt trauma patients. Blunt trauma patients admitted to a single Regional Trauma Center over a 2-year period were identified. Records were reviewed for demographics, mechanism, diagnostic evaluations, injuries, and outcome. A total of 2052 patients met study criteria. Fifty-five (2.7%) had PM; 49 patients (89%) had PM identified on CT alone, whereas six patients (11%) had it identified on both CXR and CT. There was no significant difference in gender or age between the two groups. Associated injuries were similar between groups. No patients had tracheobronchial or esophageal injuries. In this study, PMseen on CTwas found to have little clinical significance other than as a marker for severe blunt trauma. No patients with airway or esophageal injuries were seen in any of the PM patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1083
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Volume75
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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    Molena, D., Burr, N., Zucchiatti, A., Lovria, E., Gestring, M. L., Cheng, J. D., Bankey, P. E., & Stassen, N. A. (2009). The incidence and clinical significance of pneumomediastinum found on computed tomography scan in blunt trauma patients. American Surgeon, 75(11), 1081-1083.