3 doctors weighed in:

Can living at a higher altitude cause spontaneous pneumothorax?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stephen Siegel
Internal Medicine - Pulmonology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: 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.

In brief: 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.
Dr. Stephen Siegel
Dr. Stephen Siegel
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Dr. Loki Skylizard
Surgery - Thoracic

In brief: Generally no.

Living at higher altitude is not regarded as an independent risk factor for spontaneous pneumothorax.
The risk factors for primary and secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (sp) include: smoking (including marijuana), tall thin stature in otherwise healthy, connective tissue disorders, pregnancy, familial history. Lung inflammation is also hypothesized to be important.

In brief: Generally no.

Living at higher altitude is not regarded as an independent risk factor for spontaneous pneumothorax.
The risk factors for primary and secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (sp) include: smoking (including marijuana), tall thin stature in otherwise healthy, connective tissue disorders, pregnancy, familial history. Lung inflammation is also hypothesized to be important.
Dr. Loki Skylizard
Dr. Loki Skylizard
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