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A 32-year-old member asked:

does naval aviation lead to spontaneous pneumothorax?

1 doctor answer5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Schwartz
Vascular Surgery 33 years experience
Rare: In normal patients aviation does not lead to spontaneous pneumothorax. In people who have bullous disease or blebs (abnormal lung tissue that form large air sacs) pressure changes may lead to a higher risk of spontaneous pneumothorax. A person who already has had an episode of pneumothorax has as high as a 50% chance of having a recurrence without definitive treatment..
Dr. Edward Seegers
Internal Medicine 46 years experience
I agree but add that pressurization in aircraft is necessary > 10k' If in a pressurized aircraft the risk of ptx is the same as being on the ground. If in a non-pressurized aircraft (private single prop airplane) and go to 10k' risk increases because the effects of the reduced pressure would be felt ie; increased hypoxia. Advise bullous emphysema not to fly and def not any recent recurrences
Oct 7, 2014
Dr. Edward Seegers
Internal Medicine 46 years experience
BOYLES LAW: P proportional to 1/V or P1V1=P2V2 Scuba divers know this equation well !
Oct 7, 2014

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A 47-year-old member asked:

Question about risk factors for spontaneous pneumothorax--any particular age or race?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Peter Corrado
Family Medicine 41 years experience
Age is a factor: Spontaneous pneumo is more common in males and usually occurs in the early twenties. Occurance in females and after age foorty is less common. Other risk factors include smoking, family history and a history of Marfan syndrome. Women with endometriosis with thorasic involvement may be at higher risk. Incidence appears to vary based on geography but the reason is not clear.
A 47-year-old member asked:

Can living at a higher altitude cause spontaneous pneumothorax?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Siegel
Pulmonology 38 years experience
No: Pneumothorax is a risk with barotrauma occurring during rapid changes in pressure causing the lung to overexpand. For example if a scuba diver is at depth takes a deep breath and comes up from the high pressure depth to low pressure at surface, the lungs will overexpand. As pressure decreases, volume of air in lungs increase>barotrauma. Living at constant pressure at high altitude is ok.
A 48-year-old member asked:

Can you fly after having spontaneous pneumothorax?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Siegel
Pulmonology 38 years experience
If well healed: Barotrauma from scuba or skydiving at high altitude could put a person at risk for spontaneous pneumothorax but since airline cabins are pressurized, a routine airline flight should not induce barotrauma. If previous pneumothorax has been treated without complication routine air travel is ok.
A 37-year-old member asked:

What are the symptoms of spontaneous pneumothorax?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
General Surgery 39 years experience
Sudden change: There is usually the sudden onset of shortness of breath, maybe difficulty breathing, and maybe pain on the side of the chest where the pneumothorax occurred.
A 40-year-old member asked:

Should I go to the hospital straight away for spontaneous pneumothorax?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Samir Gupta
General Surgery 29 years experience
Yes: Spontaneous pneumothorax can cause shortness of breath and pain. If air continues to build around the lung you can get a tension pneumothorax which can put pressure on your heart and decrease your blood pressure severely. Treatment is a chest tube with possible pleurodesis if spontaneous pneumothorax recurs.

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Last updated May 18, 2016
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