What causes pneumomediastinum?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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The following factors may result in pneumomediastinum:

  • Acute generation of high intrathoracic pressures (often as a result of inhalational drug use, such smoking marijuana or inhalation of cocaine)
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Parturition
  • Emesis
  • Severe cough
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Trauma or surgical disruption of the oropharyngeal, esophageal, or respiratory mucosa
  • Athletic competition

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