What are the rates of recurrent 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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Observation is appropriate for iatrogenic pneumothorax in an individual with normal lungs who has responded to treatment with observation or simple aspiration. Simple aspiration or chest tube drainage of pneumothorax does not prevent recurrence. In fact, recurrences have been reported to occur in up to 32% of PSPs. [73, 70]

One study showed that a Heimlich valve with small-caliber catheter was less effective in preventing recurrence than closed thoracostomy. In another study, the recurrence rate after 1 year with Heimlich valve versus chest tube placement was not significantly different. [74] Recurrent spontaneous pneumothorax requires more definitive treatment to prevent recurrence. Recurrence rates are higher with SSP than with PSP; hence, observation is less often chosen as an approach in SSP.

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