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Kokyu To Junkan. 1992 Dec;40(12):1227-30.

[A case of spontaneous mediastinal emphysema developed by numbness of the left arm, dysphagia and chest pain].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Kanoiwa General Hospital.


A 20-year-old female developed dysphagia, chest pain and numbness of the left arm after dinner on August 22, 1990. She consulted a doctor, who diagnosed tachycardia and prescribed propranolol. On August 23, she hadn't improved. On the same day, she visited our hospital. Chest X-ray films revealed lucent band and distinct line running parallel to the border of the heart and we suspected mediastinal emphysema. Immediately we took chest CT scan, which demonstrated free air surrounding the trachea, thoracic aorta and heart. We diagnosed spontaneous mediastinal emphysema. She was treated with bed rest and mediastinal emphysema subsided within 8 days. The numbness in the patient's arm is an unusual symptom in mediastinal emphysema. We suggest that the numbness of the arm may be due to interference with the circulation to the arm by distention of the mediastinal tissue.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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