Traumatic pneumomediastinum in a child secondary to corn chip perforation of the esophagus

Anthony J. Reino, Anthony F. Jahn, J. Parsons, Alan Lubin

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5 Scopus citations


Esophageal perforations, while an infrequent form of trauma in the pediatric population, are of concern because of their life-threatening complications. If not recognized and treated promptly, esophageal injuries can result in mediastinitis and death. An unusual case is presented, describing traumatic esophageal perforation in a child resulting from laceration by an ingested corn chip. A study is reported investigating the rigidity of three types of these popular snack chips. Stress testing and statistical analysis of the resultant measurement data indicated that the three brands of chips were equally rigid. The mean force of compression required to fracture the chips was approximately three pounds, a force great enough to damage the fragile structures of the upper aerodigestive system. Physicians and parents alike should be aware of the possible dangers of this type of snack food to avert the possibility of esophageal injury with its resultant morbidity and potential mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-215
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Esophageal perforation
  • Servo-Hydraulic Material Testing System
  • Traumatic pneumomediastinum


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