COVID-19 Update

We are experiencing extremely high call volume related to COVID-19 vaccine interest. Please understand that our phone lines must be clear for urgent medical care needs. We are unable to accept phone calls to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations at this time. When this changes, we will update this web site. Please know that our vaccine supply is extremely small. Read all COVID-19 Vaccine Information.

Patient Care Options | Visitor Guidelines | Coronavirus Information | Self-Checker | Get Email Alerts

Health

Pneumomediastinum

What is pneumomediastinum?

Pneumomediastinum, also known as mediastinal emphysema, is a condition in which air is present in the mediastinum (the space in the chest between the two lungs). This can be caused by a traumatic injury or in association with pneumothorax or other diseases.

Symptoms

Pneumomediastinum may not be accompanied by any symptoms. Usually, it causes severe chest pain below the sternum, or breastbone, that may radiate to the neck or arms. The pain may be worse with breathing or swallowing.

Diagnosis

During a physical examination, the doctor may feel small bubbles of air under the skin of the chest, arms or neck. A chest X-ray or CT scan of the chest may be done to confirm the presence of air in the mediastinum.

Treatment

Often, no treatment is required as the air is gradually absorbed from the mediastinum. If pneumomediastinum is accompanied by pneumothorax, a chest tube may be placed. Breathing high concentrations of oxygen may allow the air in the mediastinum to be absorbed more quickly.

Prognosis

The outlook depends on the disease or events that caused the pneumomediastinum.

Request an Appointment

Find a Doctor
Find a Doctor