Pneumomediastinum as a complication of critical pertussis.

Pertussis is a common and potentially serious disease affecting mainly infants and young children. In its non-classic presentation, pertussis can be clinically indistinguishable from other respiratory illnesses. Pertussis today often remains under-diagnosed in adults. We report here a case of serologically confirmed pertussis in an 18-year-oldman presenting with pneumomediastinum, subcutaneous emphysema in the neck and chest, and persistent attacks of coughing with apnea that required treatment in the intensive care unit. Pneumomediastinum and subcutaneous emphysema have never been described in adult patients with pertussis. Physicians should be aware that patients presenting with persistent cough and pneumomediastinum may have pertussis and include this in their differential diagnosis.


Authors: Monaco F1, Barone M, Manfredi VG, Marando R, Nunnari F, David A, Monaco M, Cascio A.

Journal:Clin Respir J. 2015