A case of asymptomatic pneumomediastinum in a 14-year-old girl with anorexia nervosa and self-induced emesis is reported to emphasize the atypical aspects of this case and the importance of differentiating benign from potentially life-threatening sources of mediastinal air. Individuals who engage in purging behavior are not only at increased risk for both alveolar (primary pneumomediastinum) and esophageal perforation (Boerhaave syndrome) but may also obscure or delay the diagnosis by denying symptoms and/or previous emesis. Because esophageal perforation is serious, the presence of free mediastinal air in a patient with a known or suspected history of emesis should provoke prompt radiographic evaluation of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

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