Pneumothorax causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hamid Qazi, MD, BSc [2]


Pneumothorax can occur as part of medical procedures, such as the insertion of a central venous catheter in the subclavian vein or jugular vein. While rare, it is considered a serious complication and needs immediate treatment. Other causes include mechanical ventilation, emphysema and rarely other lung diseases such as pneumonia.


Pneumothorax can occur as part of medical procedures, such as the insertion of a central venous catheter in the subclavian vein or jugular vein. While rare, it is a serious complication and needs immediate treatment. Other causes include mechanical ventilation, emphysema and rarely other lung diseases such as pneumonia.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Common Causes

Less Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Pulmonary embolism
Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic Dermatomyositis
Drug Side Effect Cidofovir, dornase alfa, pentamidine isethionate, pramipexole
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, homocystinuria, Marfan syndrome, pseudoxanthoma elasticum, cystic fibrosis
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic Acupuncture, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, central venous catheter, lung biopsy, mechanical ventilation, positive end expiratory pressure
Infectious Disease Bacterial pneumonia with abscess, coccidiomycosis, echinococcosis, lung abscess, lung infection, measles, paragonimiasis, pneumoconiosis, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, pneumonia, tuberculosis , whooping cough, hydatid lung disease
Musculoskeletal / Ortho Polymyositis, dermatomyositis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome, ankylosing spondylitis, rib fracture
Neurologic No underlying causes
Nutritional / Metabolic Homocystinuria
Obstetric/Gynecologic Catamenial pneumothorax , endometriosis
Oncologic Bronchogenic carcinoma, lung cancer
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary Adult respiratory distress syndrome, bronchial asthma, bronchogenic carcinoma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coal worker pneumoconiosis, congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation, congenital lobar emphysema, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, eosinophilic granuloma, histiocytosis X, hydatid lung disease, lung cancer, lung cavity, lung fistula , lymphangioleiomyomatosis, meconium aspiration syndrome, pleuropulmonary blastoma, pulmonary embolism, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hemosiderosis, pulmonary lymphangiomatoid granulomatosis, respiratory distress syndrome (neonatal), rheumatoid lung disease, rupture of cysts, sleep apnea, subpleural blebs, primary spontaneous pneumothorax, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome, lung abscess, Lung infection, catamenial pneumothorax , tension pneumothorax
Renal / Electrolyte Bilateral renal agenesis, Birt-Hogg-Dube syndrome
Rheum / Immune / Allergy Ankylosing spondylitis, sarcoidosis, systemic sclerosis, rheumatoid lung disease
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Barotrauma, blunt trauma, flail chest, gunshot wound, lung injury, penetrating chest injury, rib fracture, tension pneumothorax
Urologic No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Air travel, decompression sickness, deployment of vehicle's air bag, excessively deep breath, forceful outburst of laughing, foreign body inhalation, idiopathic, mountain climbing at high altitudes, scuba diving, sudden chest compression

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. Tsotsolis N, Tsirgogianni K, Kioumis I, Pitsiou G, Baka S, Papaiwannou A; et al. (2015). "Pneumothorax as a complication of central venous catheter insertion". Ann Transl Med. 3 (3): 40. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2305-5839.2015.02.11. PMC 4356862. PMID 25815301.
  2. Bense, László; Eklund, Gunnar; Wiman, Lars-Gösta (1987). "Smoking and the Increased Risk of Contracting Spontaneous Pneumothorax". Chest. 92 (6): 1009–1012. doi:10.1378/chest.92.6.1009. ISSN 0012-3692.
  3. Lippert HL, Lund O, Blegvad S, Larsen HV (1991). "Independent risk factors for cumulative recurrence rate after first spontaneous pneumothorax". Eur Respir J. 4 (3): 324–31. PMID 1864347.
  4. Lindskog, Gustaf E. (1957). "Spontaneous Pneumothorax". A.M.A. Archives of Surgery. 75 (5): 693. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1957.01280170003001. ISSN 0096-6908.
  5. Melton LJ, Hepper NG, Offord KP (1981). "Influence of height on the risk of spontaneous pneumothorax". Mayo Clin Proc. 56 (11): 678–82. PMID 7300447.
  6. Sadikot RT, Greene T, Meadows K, Arnold AG (1997). "Recurrence of primary spontaneous pneumothorax". Thorax. 52 (9): 805–9. PMC 1758641. PMID 9371212.
  7. GUO, Yubiao; XIE, Canmao; RODRIGUEZ, R. Michael; LIGHT, Richard W. (2005). "Factors related to recurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax". Respirology. 10 (3): 378–384. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2005.00715.x. ISSN 1323-7799.
  8. Gupta D, Mishra S, Faruqi S, Aggarwal AN (2006). "Aetiology and clinical profile of spontaneous pneumothorax in adults". Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. 48 (4): 261–4. PMID 16970292.

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