Hamman's sign

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Hamman's sign (rarely, Hammond's sign[1] or Hammond's crunch[2]) is a crunching, rasping sound, synchronous with the heartbeat,[3] heard over the precordium in spontaneous mediastinal emphysema. It is felt to result from the heart beating against air-filled tissues.

It is named after Johns Hopkins clinician Louis Hamman, M.D.[4]

This sound is heard best over the left lateral position.[5] It has been described as a series of precordial crackles that correlate with the heart beat rather than respiration.


Hamman's crunch is caused by pneumomediastinum or pneumopericardium, and is associated with tracheobronchial injury[6] due to trauma, medical procedures (e.g., bronchoscopy) or rupture of a proximal pulmonary bleb. It can be seen with Boerhaave syndrome.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Pericardium - Google Book Search. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
  2. ^ Hadjis T, Palisaitis D, Dontigny L, Allard M (March 1995). "Benign pneumopericardium and tamponade". Can J Cardiol. 11 (3): 232–4. PMID 7889442.
  3. ^ "Hamman sign" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. ^ synd/3001 at Who Named It?
  5. ^ McCann], [executive publisher, Judith A. Shilling (2008). Nursing. Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 171. ISBN 9781582556680.
  6. ^ . Chu CP, Chen PP (April 2002). "Tracheobronchial injury secondary to blunt chest trauma: Diagnosis and management". Anaesth Intensive Care. 30 (2): 145–52. PMID 12002920.

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