How does the prevalence of pneumomediastinum (PM) vary by age?

Updated: Feb 26, 2019
  • Author: Patrick L Carolan, MD; Chief Editor: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP  more...
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The peak prevalence of spontaneous pneumomediastinum is seen in the second to fourth decades of life. This presumably reflects involvement in activities that increase the risk for developing pneumomediastinum, such as diving or marked physical exertion (eg, athletic activities, weight lifting). Moreover, the force of an individual's cough, vomit, and Valsalva maneuvers (all of which may lead to pneumomediastinum) attenuates with age, accounting for the decline in the prevalence of pneumomediastinum with age.

The age distribution for pneumomediastinum occurring in conjunction with specific disease processes reflects the age profile of the particular disease.

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