Asymptomatic Spontaneous Pneumopericardium, Pneumomediastinum, and Subcutaneous Emphysema: A Case Report of an Incidental Rare Presentation


North Florida


Ocala Regional Medical Center

Document Type

Case Report

Publication Date



stroke, emphysema, pneumomediastinum, covid-19, pneumopericardium


Infectious Disease | Internal Medicine | Respiratory Tract Diseases


Pneumopericardium (PP), pneumomediastinum (PM), epidural pneumatosis, and subcutaneous emphysema (SE) are identified by the existence of free air or gas in the associated spaces. They are normally self-limited unless tension pneumothorax, tension PM, cardiac herniation, air tamponade, and esophageal rupture accompany these disorders. PM and PP can be divided into “spontaneous” or “secondary” based on the preceding etiologies. Spontaneous PM is often extremely rare and benign in course. On the other hand, secondary PM and PP are more common and result from intrathoracic infections, trauma-related esophageal rupture, or tears along the tracheobronchial tree. Our patient presented four days after a fall from a chair and was found to have suffered a stroke, with complete left side paralysis. CT imaging on arrival was significant for PM, PP, and SE, the cause of which remains unclear. The patient was diagnosed with COVID-pneumonia approximately six months prior to presentation. As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved, several scientific papers have been published reporting infected patients who had developed spontaneous PT, PM, or even PP, in the absence of invasive mechanical ventilation. Is it possible that the spontaneous findings in our patient were COVID-related? Or could the spontaneous PP, PM, and SE be a sequel to the trauma of her fall from a chair? The answer still remains unclear.

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