ANDRE LABBE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDRE LABBE, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pneumomediastinum in asthma. Chest X-ray of the lungs of an 8-year-old boy who has a pneumomediastinum caused by an asthma attack. A pneumomediastinum is the abnormal presence of air in the mediastinum, the central part of the chest cavity between the lungs. This is usually caused by rupture of the alveoli, causing air to escape from the lungs. During an asthma attack, the small airways (bronchioles) in the lungs constrict, making it difficult to breathe. This causes wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Asthma usually develops during childhood, and generally improves as the patient matures.
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