Massive subcutaneous emphysema mimicking anaphylaxis - pathological and radiological correlations
This report details the pathological and radiological findings in a rare case of massive subcutaneous emphysema. A 74-year-old male presented with sudden onset dyspnea and facial swelling following a fall. His symptoms were refractory to treatments for anaphylaxis, which was suspected clinically, and he quickly succumbed. Autopsy, including post mortem CT scan revealed the underlying etiology to be multiple rib fractures with rupture of the parietal pleura, bilateral pneumothoraxes and massive subcutaneous emphysema involving the face, torso and upper limbs. Multiple frothy air bubbles were observed throughout the mediastinal adipose tissues on internal examination. Our findings echo those of rare previous reports and show how subcutaneous emphysema may, in rare circumstances, mimic anaphylaxis.
KeywordsSubcutaneous emphysema Surgical emphysema Anaphylaxis Pneumothorax Radiology Pathology Autopsy
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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