Alternative Treatments of Pneumothorax

Zachary D. Repanshek, MD; Jacob W. Ufberg, MD; Gary M. Vilke, MD; Theodore C. Chan, MD; Richard A. Harrigan, MD


J Emerg Med. 2013;44(2):457-466. 

In This Article


ED management of the stable patient with stable, atraumatic pneumothorax is continually evolving. These patients, and particularly those with primary spontaneous pneumothorax, may be treated with less invasive maneuvers and sometimes with no intervention at all. Many Emergency Physicians may be hesitant to utilize these techniques due to lack of experience or comfort. However, the literature supports that incorporating observation, simple aspiration, and small-bore catheter insertion with Heimlich valve into one's practice can decrease complications, time, and costs by avoiding invasive procedures and hospital admissions, and that these are techniques that can be easily done by Emergency Physicians in the ED with proper training.