Background: Primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) is a common disease in young adults. With advances in its surgical treatment, ipsilateral recurrence is < 5%. However, contralateral recurrence remains a significant problem. The purpose of this retrospective study was to identify the factors associated with contralateral recurrence of PSP.
Methods: From January 1997 to December 1999, 231 patients with PSP were reviewed and evaluated after an average of 92-months of follow-up. The clinical features and treatment of these patients were analyzed retrospectively.
Results: Thirty-three of these patients had contralateral recurrence (14.3%). The average time of contralateral recurrence was 22.94 months. In the univariate analysis (after Bonferroni correction), patients with contralateral recurrence of PSP had lower a body mass index (BMI) [p < 0.001], and higher frequency of contralateral blebs/bullae on high-resolution CT (HRCT) of the lung (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic regression was performed on 128 patients with contralateral blebs/bullae on HRCT of the lung, and the results indicate that being underweight (BMI < 18.5 kg/m2) is an independent risk factor for contralateral recurrence (odds ratio, 5.327). All patients with contralateral recurrence of PSP received surgical treatment. Two patients had unilateral recurrences of pneumothorax during follow-up (2 of 64 video-assisted thoracoscopic surgeries, 3%).
Conclusions: Contralateral recurrence of PSP is significantly more common in patients with underweight and blebs/bullae in the contralateral lung. Single-stage bilateral surgery may be considered for these patients to circumvent the need for subsequent anesthetic and operative procedures, and additional hospitalization.