Neonatal pneumopericardium with high-frequency ventilation

Richard C. Neal, David E. Beck, V. C. Smith, Donald Null

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Pneumopericardium is an uncommon condition in the neonate and has not to our knowledge, previously been reported in patients treated with high-frequency ventilation. The results of such treatment in 8 neonates seen in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, are presented. The mean gestational age was 35 weeks, and birth weight averaged 2.7 kg. The pneumopericardium developed while the patients were on high-frequency ventilation, and the diagnosis was confirmed with a chest radiogram. Treatment included pericardiocentesis with a needle cathetar followed by placement of a 10F to 14F chest tube into the pericardial space. The pneumopericardium resolved in all 8 patients. Three of the newborns died of underlying disease; 5 survived and were discharged from the hospital. Pneumopericardium in the neonate is a life-threatening complication, and appropriate therapy includes drainage with a pericardial tube placed under direct vision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-277
Number of pages4
JournalThe Annals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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