Pancreatic Pseudocysts in the Mediastinal Space: An Urban Legend?
KeywordsChronic pancreatitis, mediastinal pancreatic pseudocysts, dyspnoea, trismus, mediastinitis
Pancreatic pseudocysts are a frequent complication of chronic pancreatitis. Nonetheless, they seldom extend beyond the peripancreatic region. However, migration towards the mediastinum may cause heterogeneous and non-specific symptoms, such as dysphagia, chest pain and dyspnoea, which depend on the localization and extension of the cysts. We present the case of a patient with chronic pancreatitis who was admitted to our ward for low-grade fever and mild dyspnoea and who rapidly developed bilateral laterocervical swelling associated with acute dyspnoea and trismus. A total body CT scan showed multiple abdominal pancreatic pseudocysts, one of which had migrated to the mediastinum and towards the retropharyngeal space. Clinicians should always consider the possibility of extra-pancreatic pseudocysts in patients with known pancreatitis so that uncommon clinical presentations with a potentially fatal outcome will be recognized.