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New insights into spontaneous pneumothorax: A review

EH Louw, JA Shaw, CFN Koegelenberg

Abstract


A spontaneous pneumothorax is a pneumothorax that does not arise from trauma or an iatrogenic cause. Although the traditional classification of either primary or secondary spontaneous pneumothorax based on the absence or presence of overt underlying lung disease is still widely used, it is now well recognised that primary spontaneous pneumothorax is associated with underlying pleuropulmonary disease. Current evidence indicates that computed tomography screening for underlying disease should be considered in patients who present with spontaneous pneumothorax. Recent evidence suggests that conservative management has similar recurrence rates, less complications and shorter hospital stay compared with invasive interventions, even in large primary spontaneous pneumothoraces of >50%. A more conservative approach which is based on clinical assessment rather than pneumothorax size can thus be followed during the acute management in selected stable patients. The purpose of this review is to revisit the aetiology of spontaneous pneumothorax, identify which patients should be investigated for secondary causes and to give an overview of the management strategies at initial presentation as well as secondary prevention.


Authors' affiliations

EH Louw, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

JA Shaw, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

CFN Koegelenberg, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2021;27(1):18. DOI:10.7196/AJTCCM.2021.v27i1.054

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-03-09
Date published: 2021-03-09

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African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine| Online ISSN: 2617-0205

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