Published: 2020-03-25

Hamman’s syndrome: a case report of spontaneous pneumomediastinum after vaginal delivery

Marco Gentile, Mariaconcetta Zinna, Antonio Costanza, Andrea Remo, Giuseppe Sala, Pietro Catapano


Spontaneous pneumediastinum (Hamman’s syndrome) is a rare pathology defined as the presence of free air in the mediastinum with subcutaneous emphysema without trauma or medical problem. It is also a rare complication of labour and delivery and it usually occurs in the second stage of labour. A twenty-six-year-old primigravida presented to our hospital at 39 weeks and 6 days in spontaneous labour. Two hours following the delivery the patient developed neck tightness and chest tenderness with palpation. Chest X-ray and CT scan revealed pneumomediastinum extending into the soft tissue of the neck. A conservative management was performed. Spontaneous pneumomediastinum is a rare condition with a reported incidence of less than 1:44000 and in the setting of pregnancy or labor 1:100000. Regarding pregnancy, the valsalva maneuvers produced in the second stage of labor has been implicated in the development of spontaneous pneumomediastinum. Chest X-ray (posteroanterior and lateral view) is the most important test to confirm the diagnosis. The Hamman’s syndrome has usually a benign course and the management in often conservative. A timely diagnosis of Hamman’s syndrome is necessary for patient safety and correct management, but most cases have a self-limiting course.


Delivery, Hamman, Pneumomediastinum, Postpartum

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