Abstract: Poster Presentations |


Graeme P. Currie, MD*; Annie Kennedy, MB, ChB; Ed Paterson, MB, BCh; Stephen Watt, MB, ChB
Author and Funding Information

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Aberdeen, United Kingdom


Chest. 2005;128(4_MeetingAbstracts):357S. doi:10.1378/chest.128.4.2954
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PURPOSE:  Without definitive intervention, individuals with an untreated pneumothorax should not participate in commercial flying. Whether this advice applies to patients with a long-standing pneumothorax is uncertain. We report two adults with persistent pneumothoraces who underwent further investigation to determine the safety of doing so.

METHODS:  Following clinical assessment, both subjects had chest computerised tomographic (CT) imaging and underwent a hypoxic challenge test (breathing 15% oxygen). The individuals then proceeded to cabin altitude simulation in a hypobaric chamber.

RESULTS:  Case 1 - Chest CT showed a small left pneumothorax (estimated volume 110 millilitres). During a hypoxic challenge test, the oxygen saturation fell to 90%. During cabin altitude simulation, the patient remained asymptomatic and oxygen saturation fell to 90%. He was considered fit to fly and has completed over a dozen transatlantic flights without difficulty.Case 2 - Chest CT showed a loculated right sided pneumothorax (estimated volume 250 millilitres) and during a hypoxic challenge test, the oxygen saturation fell to 93%. An altitude chamber test was tolerated without symptoms and the oxygen saturation fell to a minimum of 92%. She was therefore considered fit to fly in commercial aircraft.

CONCLUSION:  Some patients with a closed chronic pneumothorax can fly without adverse consequences.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:  This risk should be determined after thorough assessment incorporating chest CT, a hypoxic challenge test and simulation of flying at altitude in a decompression chamber with close monitoring of symptoms and oxygen saturation.

DISCLOSURE:  Graeme Currie, None.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM




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