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Three cases of pneumopericardium following blunt chest injury are presented. All three patients were victims of road traffic accidents and were managed at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria.
One of the patients had a tension pneumopericardium, which was relieved by pericardiocentesis. The other two patients had only small amounts of pericardial air, which was absorbed after about 1 week. All three patients had multiple chest and associated injuries.
The suspected mechanism of the pneumopericardium in the three patients is pleuropericardial rupture in the presence of an intrathoracic air leak.
This is the first report of pneumopericardium following blunt injury of the chest in Nigeria. Only 16 previous cases have been reported in the world literature.
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Accepted: April 25, 1985
© 1986 John Wright & Sons Ltd. All rights reserved. Published by Elsevier Inc.