Management of primary spontaneous pneumothorax in children

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2011 Sep;50(9):797-802. doi: 10.1177/0009922811404699. Epub 2011 Apr 11.


Objective: To examine the role of CT scans and early surgical intervention in the management of pediatric patients with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP).

Methods: Retrospective cohort study.

Results: The authors identified 46 cases with 70 episodes of pneumothorax. The recurrence rate among conservatively treated patients was 50% both after the first and the subsequent episode. Recurrence rate in cases with and without blebs on CT was comparable. Initial episodes were treated with supplemental oxygen (n = 18) and chest tube drainage (n = 18), and 10 patients underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). The recurrence rate was significantly lower following surgical intervention compared with other therapy, and morbidity was comparable with that in patients who needed chest tube drainage.

Conclusions: Recurrence after the first episode of PSP in children is frequent and is difficult to predict by CT findings. VATS is safe and effective in preventing recurrences. Surgical intervention may be an attractive alternative in patients who require chest tube drainage for the first episode of PSP.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Chest Tubes
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pneumothorax / complications
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumothorax / prevention & control
  • Pneumothorax / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed