What are the classifications of pneumothorax resolution?

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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The likelihood of a pneumothorax resolving is classified as follows:

  • Very likely to resolve - Small pneumothorax in a hemodynamically stable patient without significant parenchymal lung disease; small iatrogenic pneumothorax
  • May resolve - Large pneumothorax in a normal lung (eg, PSP or iatrogenic pneumothorax)
  • Unlikely to resolve - Secondary pneumothorax, enlarging pneumothorax (suggests a continuing air leak)
  • Will not resolve, could be fatal - Tension pneumothorax; unrecognized air leak

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