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Criteria for surgical referral if spontaneous pneumothorax

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

surgical referral of patients with pneumothorax

Accepted indications for surgical referral are as follows:

  • second ipsilateral pneumothorax

  • first contralateral pneumothorax

  • synchronous bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax

  • persistent air leak (despite 5-7 days of chest tube drainage) or failure of lung re-expansion

  • spontaneous haemothorax

  • professions at risk (eg, pilots, divers)

  • pregnancy (1)


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