The BHD Literature Database has been updated with one paper.
Postmus et al. (2014) describe the case of a 38 year-old man with BHD who developed a pneumothorax after taking a speed lift to the top of one of the highest towers in the world. This episode was also two days following a trans-Atlantic flight. Upon his return home, the patient reviewed when his previous episodes of pneumothorax had occurred in relation to his flight pattern. He found that both of his previous pneumothoraces had occurred within ten days of his return flights.
The authors also conducted a study of 190 BHD patients and found that 12 patients (6%) suffered 13 episodes of pneumothorax within one month of flying. Of these, six cases occurred within 10 days; 4 cases between 10-20 days, and 3 cases between 20-30 days of the flight. This time lag is thought to be due to the time taken for air to build up in the pleural cavity following cyst rupture caused by air travel.
The authors suspect that flying may cause a small pneumothorax to develop, which is then aggravated by the return flight, or in the case of the patient described, by the sudden change in air pressure caused by using the speed lift. Thus the authors suggest that patients should be assessed for pneumothorax before the return flight.
To find out more, the latest version of the database is available to download here.