Spontaneous pneumothorax—When do we need to intervene?

Moshe Ashkenazi*, Alon Bak, Ifat Sarouk, Bat El Bar Aluma, Adi Dagan, Yael Bezalel, Daphna Vilozni, Ori Efrati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Pneumothorax can be classified as traumatic, iatrogenic or spontaneous (SP), which can be subdivided into primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP), a condition without preexisting lung disease, or secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (SSP) a complication of a preexisting lung disease. Recurrence rate of PSP is 30% whereas for SSP rate is unknown. This article explores the experience of a tertiary center over 20 years. Methods: A retrospective case review of patients hospitalized with pneumothorax to investigate the natural history and treatment of SP in a young population in a single tertiary center was conducted. A search of the digital archive (going back to 01/01/1995) of Sheba Medical Center identified hospitalized patients below the age of 40. Results: The database was composed of the records of 750 patients (612 males, 138 females) who were hospitalized. The recurrence risk for SP after nonoperative treatment was significantly higher. Women were found to have an increased risk of SSP when having SP (OR 2.78). Asthma was the most prevalent disease causing SSP in young people. Conclusions: In this large cohort, we found that operative procedure has clear protective effect from recurrence in SP, so surgery should be positively considered when treating SP in hospitalized patients. Among young people and particularly in pediatric patients, when females have a SP, we strongly recommend looking for primary lung disease. More studies are needed to determine the risk factors and produce clear guidelines regarding surgery as first treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-972
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • asthma
  • recurrence
  • spontaneous pneumothorax
  • surgical intervention


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