Spontaneous pneumothorax in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: complications, treatment and recurrences

Eur J Respir Dis. 1987 Nov;71(5):365-71.


Data from 303 patients with 389 admissions for spontaneous pneumothorax from 1970 to 1980 at Ullevaal Hospital, Oslo, Norway, were reviewed. Spontaneous pneumothorax carried a significantly higher complication and mortality rate in patients suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Their higher median age compared to non-COPD patients contributed to this, but did not account for the increased mortality. The risk of developing wound infection and/or pneumonia was significantly higher after 7 days of chest tube treatment in both patient groups, independent of age. There was no association between recurrence rate and COPD/non-COPD, age or duration of chest tube treatment (1-7 days, 8 days or more). Complications were not more frequent after thoracotomies performed in COPD patients. Therefore operative treatment for both primary and COPD-related spontaneous pneumothorax should be considered if tube treatment is not successful after 1 week and there are no contraindications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Catheterization / adverse effects
  • Drainage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumothorax / complications*
  • Pneumothorax / mortality
  • Pneumothorax / surgery
  • Pneumothorax / therapy
  • Recurrence
  • Thoracotomy