Subcutaneous Emphysema, Pneumomediastinum and Pneumothorax in a Patient with Dermatomyositis

Document Type : Case Report


1 Sinus and Surgical Endoscopic Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Spontaneous pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and subcutaneous emphysema are rare, but serious complications of inflammatory myopathies and occur more commonly in DM than PM. complications of dermatomyositis (DM) and polymyositis (PM), both of which can be fatal.
 Case Report:
A 20-year-old woman was admitted with neck pain, dyspnea, cough, and fever. She had been diagnosed with dermatomyositis 21 months prior. A thorax computed tomography (CT) scan revealed ground glass opacities in her lungs, pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and subcutaneous emphysema. Despite intensive immunosuppressive therapy, clinical deterioration and radiological progression were observed, ultimately the patient died.
During the care for a patient with dermatomyositis, the otorhinolaryngologist should be cautious of rapidly progressive and fatal neck subcutaneous emphysema. For a patient with dermatomyositis and with normal bronchoscopy and esophagoscopy, the main treatment is control of dermatomyositis with medical therapy. Therefore, a tracheostomy and/or mechanical ventilation may not be necessary.


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