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Spontaneous pneumothorax is a significant global health problem, with a reported incidence of 18-28/100000 cases per annum for men and 1.2-6/100000 for women (1).

  • the incidence of spontaneous pneumothorax in Minnesota, USA was 7/100,000 for men and 1/100,000 for women.

In UK, combined hospital admission rates for primary spontaneous pneumothorax and secondary spontaneous pneumothorax have been reported as 16.7/100000 for men and 5.8/100000 for women, with corre-sponding mortality rates of 1.26/million and 0.62/million per annum between 1991 and 1995 (1).

Smoking causes an increased risk of a spontaneous pneumothorax (2):

  • 9 fold increase in females
  • 22 fold increase in males

The disease has a biphasic age distribution:

  • primary pneumothorax peaking in those between the ages of 15 and 34
  • secondary pneumothorax peaking in those aged more than 55 (2)


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