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Pneumomediastinum (say "noo-moh-MEE-dee-yuh-STY-num") is the leakage of air into a space between the lungs (mediastinum). As air builds up in this space in your chest, you may have shortness of breath or chest pain that moves to your neck or arm.
Most cases get better on their own. But if there are problems, you may need to breathe oxygen through a face mask, or have a tube placed in your chest, to help you heal. It can take several days for the leaked air to be reabsorbed by your body, and you may need more treatment.
The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think your may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 6, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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