Pneumopericardium in the Neonate
Pneumopericardium occurs when air accumulates in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart and is one of the rarest forms of air leaks in neonates. Because of various advances in neonatal care, including gentler modes of ventilation, surfactant replacement, and antenatal steroids, the incidence of pneumopericardium has decreased. Despite the decrease in incidence of pneumopericardium, most cases arise in premature infants with a history of respiratory distress and mechanical ventilation. Evidence has shown that the incidence is inversely related to birth weight and that pneumopericardium has high mortality and morbidity rates.