Subcutaneous Emphysema and Pneumomediastinum Following Oro-Facial First Degree Burns

Ahmad Jaafar, Abrar Al-Hashemi, Eman Al-Hashemi


First degree oro-facial burns, particularly by hot liquids, are common in children, and usually heal without complications. Rarely, potentially serious complications that can lead to cardiorespiratory compromise and even death can occur. We present a 15-month-old girl who developed spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum 3 days after sustaining a first degree oro-facial burn by a hot liquid, with a possible thermal inhalational injury. Two important diagnoses that needed to be ruled out are the injury of an air-containing structure, like the pharynx, larynx, trachea, esophagus and bronchial tree as well as necrotizing fasciitis. Literature review revealed a lack of medical research that focuses on the association between such complications and first degree oro-facial burns, particularly in toddlers. The study reveals that spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum can complicate first degree oro-facial burns in toddlers. Our aims are to draw the attention to the possible association between superficial oro-facial burns and the development of spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum, and to encourage further studies to investigate into this association.

Int J Clin Pediatr. 2015;4(1):139-142


Oro-facial burn; Subcutaneous emphysema; Pneumomediastinum; Toddler

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