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Case Reports in Emergency Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 583287, 3 pages
Case Report

Tension Pneumothorax, Pneumoperitoneum, and Cervical Emphysema following a Diagnostic Colonoscopy

Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA

Received 9 March 2013; Accepted 19 May 2013

Academic Editors: N. Kikuchi and M. D. Smith

Copyright © 2013 Ali Pourmand and Hamid Shokoohi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colonoscopy is currently a widespread procedure used in screening for colorectal cancer. Iatrogenic colonic perforation during colonoscopy is a serious and potentially life-threatening complication that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. “Triple pneumo” (a combination of pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, and pneumoperitoneum) following colonoscopy is a rare but a serious condition requiring immediate diagnosis and emergent intervention. In majority of these cases a colonic perforation is the initial injury that is followed by pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum through the potential anatomical connection with retroperitoneal and mediastinal spaces. In this rare case report we are presenting a case of “triple pneumo” with no evidence of colonic perforation. This patient developed a simultaneous pneumoperitoneum, pneumomediastinum, and a tension pneumothorax requiring immediate tube thoracostomy. This case may raise the awareness on the likelihood of these serious complications after colonoscopy.