Thoracic Endometriosis Syndrome: Association With Pelvic Endometriosis and Fertility Status

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. 2017 Mar-Apr;24(3):461-465. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2016.12.025. Epub 2017 Jan 7.


Study objective: To evaluate associations among catamenial pneumothorax, pelvic endometriosis, and fertility status.

Design: Retrospective study (Canadian Task Force classification II-2).

Setting: Departments of Thoracic Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology, San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Patients: Sixteen females referred to the Department of Thoracic Surgery for treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax between January 2001 and January 2014 and referred to the outpatient clinic for gynecologic follow-up.

Interventions: Thoracoscopy for catamenial pneumothorax and laparoscopy for pelvic endometriosis.

Measurements and main results: Characteristics of the patients, the presence of endometriosis, and their fertility status were statistically analyzed. Pelvic endometriosis was diagnosed in 9 patients (56.3%), but 6 patients did not undergo a laparoscopic procedure to confirm or exclude the disease. Seven of the affected patients (77.8%) had stage III-IV endometriosis. Two-thirds of the patients with pelvic endometriosis who attempted conception conceived spontaneously, as did all of the patients without histopathological confirmation of endometriosis.

Conclusion: Thoracic endometriosis syndrome, characterized mainly by catamenial pneumothorax, is a relevant condition in patients affected by endometriosis. However, few previous studies have analyzed this condition from a gynecologic standpoint, in terms of characteristics of endometriosis and fertility status of affected women. Our findings support the presence of a strong association between catamenial pneumothorax and pelvic endometriosis, as well as a minimal effect of catamenial pneumothorax on fertility status, even in the presence of pelvic endometriosis.

Keywords: Catamenial pneumothorax; Endometriosis; Fertility status; Spontaneous pneumothorax; Thoracic endometriosis; Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endometriosis / complications*
  • Endometriosis / surgery
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Laparoscopy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / epidemiology
  • Pneumothorax / etiology*
  • Pneumothorax / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Catamenial pneumothorax