Objective: To document the number of infants with spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) and determine the association of any underlying pathologic processes in the lung with SP.
Design: Retrospective chart review of infants admitted with SP from January 1985, to December 1994.
Setting: Patients admitted to The Children's Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio.
Participants: Children aged greater than 28 days but less than 1 year with the primary admitting diagnosis of SP.
Main outcome measures: The number of infants with SP and description of underlying conditions associated with SP.
Results: Six infants were identified with the admitting diagnosis of SP. All of the patients had underlying conditions that predisposed to SP: febrile seizures, anatomic abnormalities (one with an intrathoracic cystic hygroma and one with a cystic adenomatoid malformation of the lung), bronchiolitis, and two patients with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonitis. The children with SP identified in this survey accounted for one admission per 10,000 hospitalized children and 3.4 admissions per 10,000 hospitalized infants.
Conclusions: SP in infancy is uncommon. The data indicate that infants who present with SP have associated conditions predisposing to the development of a pulmonary air leak.