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Pneumothorax, Pneumomediastinum and Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema

Normally the air that we breathe goes down the trachea (windpipe) , which branches off into 2 bronchi , and then branches further in each lung into numerous bronchioli . At the end of each bronchiole are the alveoli , air sacs where oxygen is delivered to the blood and carbon dioxide is released. If the alveoli become overfilled with air, the air can break out of the air sacs and get into spaces where it should not be.
This condition is sometimes referred to as air leak and includes the following main disorders: 

  • Pneumothorax where the air is trapped inside the chest between the chest wall and the lung, the pleural space , causing the lung to collapse.
  • Pneumomediastinum where air is trapped in the middle part of the chest.
  • Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema (PIE) where air is trapped between the tiny air sacs, encircling the smallest blood vessels and bronchi.

Although air leak can happen in any baby, it is more common if a neonate has an underlying lung disease, if the neonate needs CPAP or mechanical ventilation, if the infant is premature . Symptoms and treatment largely depend on the type and severity of the air leak present.

For further, more detailed information on this topic, please refer to the reference source for this page.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. University of Wisconsin and The Center For Perinatal Care at Meriter Hospital Madison, Wisconsin:

Other HON resources 
   From MedHunt

Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema
    From HONselect
     (def;articles & more)   

Mediastinal Emphysema
Pulmonary Emphysema

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Mediastinal Emphysema
Pulmonary Emphysema


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Contact Last modified: Oct 21 2004