What determines the level of care needed for pneumothorax?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
  • Print

The following is a suggested guideline on determining where to administer care in a patient with a pneumothorax:

  • Outpatient care - This can occur in asymptomatic patients or those with a small pneumothorax and reliable follow-up
  • Emergency department (ED) care - Prolonged periods of observation are inefficient and clinically suboptimal; efficacy studies of manual aspiration and placement of one-way valves performed in EDs are an attempt to address these practical issues
  • Inpatient care - This site of care is generally selected when high-flow oxygen is needed, the pneumothorax is larger but the patient is stable, or comorbidities increase concern about risk or follow-up; the average hospital stay is 2.8 days
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) - ICU treatment and observation is appropriate for patients who are unstable or intubated

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!