While mediastinal free air in the ventilated newborn is usually benign, tension pneumomediastinum can lead to further cardiorespiratory compromise due to the compression of mediastinal structures, including the heart and large blood vessels. The authors present a case of life-threatening pneumomediastinum in a ventilated preterm leading to abrupt onset of cardiorespiratory failure. An 8 French (Fr) drainage catheter was placed in the anterior mediastinum using the 2nd right intercostal space as an insertion site, with prompt hemodynamic improvement. A brief description of the drainage technique and a literature review is presented.
Key words: hemodynamics, mechanical ventilation, pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, thoracocentesis