Pulmonary interstitial emphysema
- Pulmonary interstitial emphysema is a manifestation of barotrauma most often seen in premature newborns who have respiratory distress syndrome.
- Rupture of pulmonary alveoli results in air passing into the interstitial space of the lung.
- The air has been described as being present in the interstitial spaces, surrounding the bronchovascular bundles, and in the pulmonary lymphatic channels of the interstitium.
- Radiographic presence of pulmonary interstitial emphysema serves as a warning sign of other complications of barotrauma, such as pneumothorax.
- In most patients, pulmonary interstitial emphysema is transient, lasting only for several days.
- Rarely, pulmonary interstitial emphysema can persist and form expanding, radiolucent masses. This is known as persistent pulmonary interstitial emphysema.
 Imaging Findings
 Plain films
- Linear, oval, and occasional spherical cystic air-containing spaces throughout the lung parenchyma.
- Interstitial changes are initially linear but may become more cystic as the air in the interstitium congregates locally.
- Subpleural cysts also develop and may rupture to produce a pneumothorax.
- Heart tends to get smaller as intrathoracic pressure increases and results in diminished venous return into the chest.
- Overall lung volume is increased; however, the lungs are less compliant because they are splinted at a large volume by the air within the interstitium.
 See Also
 External Links
- Goldminer: Pulmonary interstitial emphysema
- Bronchitis Treatment - How to overcome any lung-related illness.
- Donnelly, Lane F., Lucaya, Javier, Ozelame, Vanildo, Frush, Donald P., Strouse, Peter J., Sumner, Thomas E., Paltiel, Harriet J. CT Findings and Temporal Course of Persistent Pulmonary Interstitial Emphysema in Neonates: A Multiinstitutional Study. Am. J. Roentgenol. 2003 180: 1129-1133.
- Wood, Beverly P. E-medicine radiology article