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07 June 2022 : Case report  USA

[In Press] Whistling Scrotum: An Unusual Presentation of Pneumomediastinum in the Setting of an Open Scrotal Wound

Unusual clinical course

Brant Bickford12AEF, Andrew J. Berglund31EF, Ronald J. Markert1AEF, Hari Polenakovik ORCID logo41AEF

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.936441

Am J Case Rep In Press; DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.936441  

Available online: 2022-06-07, In Press, Corrected Proof

Publication in the "In-Press" formula aims at speeding up the public availability of the pending manuscript while waiting for the final publication. The assigned DOI number is active and citable. The availability of the article in the Medline, PubMed and PMC databases as well as Web of Science will be obtained after the final publication according to the journal schedule


Pneumoscrotum is a rare clinical occurrence in which air accumulates in the scrotum. The origin of air is primarily from trauma, but spontaneous pneumoscrotum can develop from gastrointestinal or pulmonary sources. Physical examination of pneumoscrotum typically includes crepitus of the perineal region and scrotal swelling and associated findings depending on the origin of the free air. However, pneumoscrotum in the setting of a scrotal wound, which allows air to pass freely outside the body, has not been previously documented in the literature.
A 72-year-old man who recently underwent a scrotal incision and drainage for recurrent epididymitis presented to a local emergency room with chief concerns of “whistling scrotum” and dyspnea. The chest CT revealed bilateral pneumothoraces, pneumomediastinum, and excessive subcutaneous emphysema throughout his abdomen, perineum, and scrotum. His scrotum had a dehiscent wound without any gross edema or air trapping contained within the scrotum. He received bilateral chest tubes and subcutaneous air drains with complete resolution of his pneumothoraces. The pneumoscrotum and associated subcutaneous emphysema of the perineum and thighs resolved after a prolonged period, and necessitated additional scrotal surgery.
Prompt evaluation for source control is necessary with pneumoscrotum, as the source likely requires immediate stabilization or surgical intervention. This case report describes a unique presentation of a common entity (pneumothorax) within pulmonology/critical care in a patient with an open scrotal wound from a recent scrotal procedure, which allowed the air to escape from his abdominal compartment, and resulted in his “scrotal whistling.” It is unclear how the air passing through the scrotum affected the patient’s presentation, such as allowing more air to build up in the subcutaneous tissues versus developing critical illness.

Keywords: Pneumothorax; Scrotum; Subcutaneous Emphysema


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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923