What is the incidence of iatrogenic and traumatic pneumothorax?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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Traumatic and tension pneumothoraces occur more frequently than spontaneous pneumothoraces, and the rate is undoubtedly increasing in US hospitals as intensive care treatment modalities have become increasingly dependent on positive-pressure ventilation, central venous catheter placement, and other causes that potentially induce iatrogenic pneumothorax.

Iatrogenic pneumothorax may cause substantial morbidity and, rarely, death. The incidence of iatrogenic pneumothorax is 5-7 per 10,000 hospital admissions, with thoracic surgery patients excluded because pneumothorax may be a typical outcome following these surgeries.

Pneumothorax occurs in 1-2% of all neonates, with a higher incidence in infants with neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. In one study, 19% of such patients developed a pneumothorax.

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