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Editorials |

Management of Secondary Spontaneous Pneumothorax : There’s Confusion in the Air

John E. Heffner; John T. Huggins
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Charleston, SC
 ,  Dr. Heffner is Professor of Medicine and Executive Medical Director, Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Huggins is a Senior Clincal Fellow in the Pulmonary/Critical Care Division at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Correspondence to: John E. Heffner, MD, FCCP, Professor of Medicine, Executive Medical Director, Medical University of South Carolina, 169 Ashley Ave, PO Box 250332, Charleston, SC



Chest. 2004;125(4):1190-1192. doi:10.1378/chest.125.4.1190
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Extract

The occurrence of a spontaneous pneumothorax represents a troubling milestone in the course of patients with moderate-to-severe COPD. A pneumothorax causes rapidly progressive and alarming degrees of dyspnea usually associated with pleuritic chest pain. Hospitalization is necessary and often prolonged, and most patients require an intercostal chest tube and consideration of a surgical procedure to induce pleurodesis. But beyond these distressing experiences, a spontaneous pneumothorax represents a significant marker of mortality for patients with COPD. Each pneumothorax occurrence increases the chances of dying by nearly fourfold.1 In light of this lethal potential, the recurrence rate of secondary spontaneous pneumothoraces is especially alarming. Up to 40 to 50% of patients will have a second pneumothorax if pleurodesis is not performed.13

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