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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pneumopericardium after Laparoscopic Hernia Repair Presents with ST-segment Changes: A Case Report


Introduction: Although rare, iatrogenic cases of pneumopericardium have been documented following laparoscopic surgery and mechanical ventilation. Electrocardiogram (ECG) changes, including ST-segment depressions and T-wave inversions, have been documented in cases of pneumopericardium, and can mimic more concerning causes of chest pain including myocardial ischemia or pulmonary embolism.

Case Report: This unique case describes a patient who presented with chest pain and ST-segment changes on ECG hours after a laparoscopic inguinal hernia repair and who was found to have pneumopericardium.

Conclusion: While iatrogenic pneumopericardium is often self-limiting and rarely requires intervention, it is critical to differentiate pneumopericardium from other etiologies of chest pain, including myocardial ischemia and pulmonary embolism, to prevent unnecessary intervention.

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