Subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum after endotracheal anaesthesia.Ann Acad Med Singap. 2000 Mar; 29(2):256-8.AA
We report a case of subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum that presented postoperatively after tracheal extubation.
A 51-year-old man had an uneventful anaesthesia lasting about 6.5 hours. Intubation was performed by a very junior medical officer and was considered difficult. He developed sore throat, chest pain, numbness of both hands and palpable crepitus around the neck postoperatively. Chest X-ray revealed diffuse subcutaneous emphysema, pneumomediastinum and possible pneumopericardium.
He was treated conservatively with bed rest, oxygen, analgesia, antibiotic prophylaxis, reassurance and close monitoring.
The patient made an uneventful recovery.
We discussed the possible causes.