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Editorials |

Pneumothorax and Air Travel: Lessons Learned From a Bag of Chips

Michael H. Baumann, MD, MS, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Michael H. Baumann, MD, MS, FCCP, Chief Quality Officer, Professor of Medicine, University of Mississippi Health Care, 2500 North State St, Jackson, MS, FCCP, 39216; e-mail: mbaumann@medicine.umsmed.edu

Dr. Baumann is Chief Quality Officer, Professor of Medicine, University of Mississippi Health Care.


The author has reported to the ACCP that no significant conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(3):655-656. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0891
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Extract

Considerable information regarding air travel and the indications for oxygen supplementation is available.1 By contrast, little information exists regarding the air travel-related risks of pneumothorax and the implications for subsequent air travel after a pneumothorax event. Direction is provided by Taveira-DaSilva and colleagues2 in this issue of CHEST (see page 665). This retrospective review of subjects enrolled in research protocols at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Research Center finds a low risk (or coincidental association) among lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), air travel, and pneumothorax development. Acknowledged is a potential selection bias, creating an underreporting of pneumothorax events. In addition, no direct causation link can be made between air travel and pneumothorax events due to the absence of pretravel radiographs. No new pneumothoraces were observed in patients with sarcoidosis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis that traveled to National Institutes of Health, with similar reporting limitations. β error may play a role in not establishing a clear link between air travel and pneumothorax development. This study improves on prior reported pneumothorax events in LAM patients3 by including a more complete review of radiographic information, and, provides physicians and patients with information previously unavailable for patients with LAM, sarcoidosis, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis regarding air travel-related pneumothorax risks.

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