Barotrauma related to inhalational drug abuse

J Emerg Med. 1990 Mar-Apr;8(2):141-9. doi: 10.1016/0736-4679(90)90223-i.


Three patients are described who developed either pneumomediastinum or "clicking pneumothorax" after abusing illicit drugs. In recent years, patients presenting with pneumomediastinum after abusing cocaine have been frequently reported; these patients are most commonly young males with pleuritic chest pain. Seventy-three percent have detectable subcutaneous emphysema and fifty percent have a Hamman's sign. The pathophysiology, presenting features, and treatment of patients with barotrauma related to inhalational drug abuse are reviewed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Amphetamine
  • Barotrauma / diagnostic imaging
  • Barotrauma / etiology*
  • Chest Pain / chemically induced
  • Cocaine*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Lung Injury
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Emphysema / chemically induced
  • Mediastinal Emphysema / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumothorax / chemically induced
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications*


  • Amphetamine
  • Cocaine