Study aims: To examine the influence of atmospheric
pressure (AP) and temperature changes on the incidence of idiopathic
spontaneous pneumothorax (SP).
Methods: From December
1991 through November 1993, 115 consecutive SP cases were selected.
Patients were included after being in Amsterdam at least 1 full day
before contracting the SP. Differences in air temperature and AP
(provided hourly by the national weather bureau) for the days of the SP
occurrence and the days previous to it were recorded to measure
influences of air temperature and AP. The correlation between days with
lightning and SP and clustering of SP was evaluated.
Results: SP occurred on 14.7% of the days in the 2-year
period. There was no relationship between SP and a rise or fall in AP
(Poisson regression). There was an average temperature rise of 0.57°C
from the day prior to the day of the SP, compared with a 0.08°C fall
on the days without SP. This difference is statistically significant
and was consistent over the four seasons and both years. Seventy-three
percent of the SP cases were clustered. A relationship between SP and
thunderstorms was found.
Conclusions: AP differences
do not seem to influence the chance of developing SP. SP occurs in
clusters, and more often 1 to 2 days after thunderstorms. Whether the
identified temperature rise prior to the SP is a causative factor is
unlikely; coexisting weather phenomena might explain this unexpected
finding and should be studied in the future.