Spontaneous pneumothorax in the AIDS population

Hadar Spivak, Steve Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Spontaneous pneumothorax (SP) in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has become the leading cause of nontraumatic pneumothorax in the urban population. However, the appropriate treatment, especially the role of surgical intervention, remains controversial. A retrospective study of 33 patients with AIDS who were treated for 38 episodes of SPs (5 bilateral SPs) at our institution was conducted. The study consisted of 25 males (76%) and 8 females (24%) with a mean age of 38 years. Concurrent Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia was detected in 29/33 patients (88%). Three forms of treatment were utilized for the 38 pneumothoraces (5 of which required two modalities): closed tube thoracostomy, 28/38 (group 1); observation alone, 10/38 (group 2); and operative procedures, 5/38 (group 3). There were eight hospital deaths, four following resolution of the SP. Follow-up was available for 14 patients, 11 of whom died a median of 3 months post-discharge. Three patients were alive 1, 3, and 18 months post-discharge. AIDS-related SP is strongly associated with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and is predictive of a short- term survival. The treatment should be individualized, and, although resolution of the pneumothorax can be expected, the coexisting AIDS-related illnesses determine the outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-756
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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