Spontaneous Pneumothorax

A spontaneous pneumothorax is a collapse of the lung which is due to an internal condition of the lungs and is not the result of external trauma or injury. It may happen at any time, but may also be brought on by changes in air pressure, such as during scuba diving, or by harsh movements.

A BHD-associated spontaneous pneumothorax is likely linked to the presence of Lung cysts, and BHD researchers have found several patterns in BHD-related pneumothoraces:

  • BHD patients who have lung cysts are more prone to having a pneumothorax than those with no history of lung cysts.
  • Data suggest that around a quarter of those with BHD syndrome have experienced one or more pneumothoraces. Researchers have calculated that lifetime risk of pneumothorax is around 29%.
  • If a BHD-diagnosed individual does have one pneumothorax, he or she is more likely to have more spontaneous pneumothoraces.
  • Both men and women appear to be equally affected.
  • A study of 48 individuals with spontaneous pneumothoraces found that most pneumothoraces occurred in the right lung.
  • The youngest age reported for a BHD-associated pneumothorax is 7. The oldest is over 70, in a man who had a spontaneous non-familial mutation of the BHD gene. Most occur in younger individuals, between 20 to 30 years of age.
  • Overall, about 10% of all spontaneous pneumothoraces cases are due to a familial background.

Those who have had prior pneumothoraces in their medical history may want to carry a brief record of the treatment received in the past, as this could affect your treatment in the future. For information on various treatments, see the Lung treatment section.



Publication date: September 2012
Review date: September 2015