Spontaneous Pneumopericardium Due to Exertion

Gerald W. Westermann, MD, Barbara Suwelack, MD

Disclosures

South Med J. 2003;96(1) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

We report the unique case of a patient with an idiopathic pneumopericardium due to heavy lifting and discuss Valsalva's maneuver as a rare cause in the pathogenesis of pneumopericardium. Our patient recovered without treatment and had no recurrence of pneumopericardium during follow-up. All physicians should be aware of pneumopericardium as a possible cause of chest pain, especially when no trauma is visible. Pneumopericardium may also be an occasional complication of pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum.

Pneumopericardium can be an occasional complication of pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum. In reviewing the literature, we found no mention of physical exertion involving manual labor as a cause of pneumopericardium. We report the case of a patient who had pneumopericardium and discuss the role of Valsalva's maneuver in the pathogenesis.

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