patient advice following spontaneous pneumothorax

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advice for patients after pneumothorax

Due to the significant rate of recurrence of both primary and secondary pneumothoraces, patients are advised to return to hospital if increasing breathlessness develops.

  • BTS recommends that all patients with a pneumothorax are followed up by a respiratory physician to ensure resolution and to identify and treat underlying lung disease or recurrence
  • those managed by observation alone or by NA should be advised to return for a follow-up chest x-ray after 2-4 weeks to

The following advice should be given to the patients

  • patient can be advised to return to work and to resume normal physical activities once all symptoms have resolved (although extreme exertion and contact spots should be deferred until full resolution)
  • cessation of smoking - patients should be educated about the importance of smoking cessation to reduces the recurrence rate
  • diving
    • BTS recommends that scuba diving should be avoided indefinitely unless a very secure definitive prevention strategy has been performed such as surgical pleurectomy
  • air travel
    • in the presence of a current closed pneumothorax, patients should be cautioned against commercial flights at high altitude until full resolution of the pneumothorax has been confirmed by a chest x-ray
    • the UK civil aviation authority suggests that it is safe to travel two weeks after successful drainage of a pneumothorax (2)


Last reviewed 01/2018