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CHEST: "Simultaneous bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax"

E Graf-Deuel and A Knoblauch
Department of Medicine, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, Switzerland.

We describe 12 patients with simultaneous bilateral (both sides) spontaneous pneumothorax (SBSP). They represent 4 percent of patients with spontaneous pneumothorax seen at our hospital from 1971 to 1990. Five of the 12 had no underlying lung disease. In the seven remaining patients, SBSP was secondary to histiocytosis X, lymphangioleiomyomatosis, osteogenic sarcoma with pleural and pulmonary metastases, Hodgkin's disease, mesothelioma, cystic fibrosis, or miliary tuberculosis. Nineteen of the 56 patients with SBSP (34 percent) described in the literature (this series included) had pulmonary disease related to disorders of cells of mesenchymal origin. Emphysema and bullous lung disease were not associated with SBSP. Long- term prognosis was a function of pulmonary status. Four of the patients described herein died during the period reviewed. All suffered from severe underlying disease. In no case was SBSP the main cause of death. With timely treatment, the short-term prognosis is benign even for patients with underlying lung disease. Surgical pleurectomy should be attempted early, especially in SBSP secondary to underlying lung disease.

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