Laryngotracheobronchitis complicated by spontaneous pneumomediastinum

Harrison W. Lin, Kiran Kakarala, Samuel T. Ostrower, David S. Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is an unusual clinical entity that most frequently follows episodes of increased intrathoracic pressures. While typically a benign condition, potentially fatal complications of SPM must be considered and ruled out with each case. We aim to present the first case of croup-associated SPM in the otolaryngology literature and to discuss clinical, diagnostic and management principles. Days following the diagnosis of viral croup, a 7-year-old asthmatic girl presented with unstable vital signs and severe SPM. The patient was urgently taken to the operating room for an endoscopic airway evaluation, which revealed only a mild bacterial croup superinfection. Conservative treatment with inpatient monitoring and antibiotic therapy successfully resolved the episode. SPM should be immediately considered in the differential diagnosis of any patient presenting with cervical emphysema, especially in association with asthma, cough or strenuous activity. Following exclusion of other causes of SPM, conservative and supportive therapies are the mainstays of SPM management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-224
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Airway
  • Croup
  • Laryngotracheobronchitis
  • Pediatric
  • Spontaneous pneumomediastinum


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