Encyclopedia of Intensive Care Medicine

2012 Edition
| Editors: Jean-Louis Vincent, Jesse B. Hall

Post Traumatic Pneumatocele

  • Jeffrey JohnsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-00418-6_496

Generically, a pneumatocele describes a gas-filled space in any part of the body. Most commonly, this is in reference to a space within the lung, or, more precisely, a pulmonary pneumatocele. In the setting of trauma, these cavities are thought to arise from three different potential mechanisms. First, an intraparenchymal lung laceration from chest wall compression with subsequent recoil may produce an air and fluid-filled space at the site of injury [1]. Second, a pulmonary contusion may produce an area of devitalized lung that is secondarily replaced by gas. Third, a gas-filled space can form adjacent to a ruptured airway as the result of high energy blunt force, a missile, a fractured rib, or barotrauma. These etiologies separate a post traumatic pneumatocele from one occurring after infection, though these entities may be superimposed in the injured patient.


Pulmonary pneumatoceles are typically identified on routine imaging of an injured patient in the first 2 weeks...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Denver Health Medical CenterUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA