The unnecessary workups and admissions of adolescents and young adults with spontaneous pneumomediastinum

Lindsay Wald, Celeste Yergin, Robin Petroze, Shawn Larson, Saleem Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is a rare condition in children and young adults that raises concern for esophageal perforation or extension of an air leak, resulting in admissions with multiple interventions performed. To assess our outcomes, and to evaluate our resource utilization, we reviewed our experience with SPM. We conducted a retrospective review of SPM cases in patients aged 5-25 years old occurring between 2011 and 2021 at a single academic tertiary care center. Clinical, demographic, and outcome variables were collected and analyzed, and cohorts were compared using Fischer's Exact Test and Welch's T Test. 166 SPM cases were identified-all of which were Emergency Department (ED) presentations. 84% of the cases were admitted. 70% had Computerized Tomography (CT) scans, with no defined criteria for imaging. Comparison of floor admissions with discharges from the ED showed no significant difference in presenting symptoms, demographics, or outcomes between the two groups. Recurrence was noted in 4 patients with a range of 5.9 months-4.9 years from the initial episode. In the largest SPM study in the pediatric and young adult population, we noted no significant difference in management or outcomes in admitted or ED discharge patients nor those with CT imaging. Our results suggest that a large number of SPM can be managed safely with discharge from the ED.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4501
Number of pages1
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes


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