Bilateral pneumothoraces as a complication of acupuncture

Singapore Med J. 2007 Jan;48(1):e32-3.


Pneumothorax developing secondary to acupuncture is rare. However, in an undiagnosed case, it may cause fatality. The real incidence of acupuncture-related pneumothorax is not known but is acknowledged to be underdiagnosed and under-reported. We describe pneumothorax occurring in a 52-year-old woman who developed bilateral pneumothoraces, with one side being a tension pneumothorax, immediately following acupuncture. The needle was inserted at a paravertebral point at the level of the third vertebral spinous process.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Radiography, Thoracic