Pneumothorax—either spontaneous or iatrogenic—is commonly encountered in pulmonary medicine. While secondary pneumothorax is caused by an underlying pulmonary disease, the spontaneous type occurs in healthy individuals without obvious cause. The British Thoracic Society (BTS, 2010) and the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP, 2001) published the guidelines for pneumothorax management. This review compares the diagnostic and management recommendations between the two societies. Patients diagnosed with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) may be observed without intervention if the pneumothorax is small and there are no symptoms. Oxygen therapy is only discussed in the BTS guidelines. If intervention is needed, BTS recommends a simple aspiration in all spontaneous and some secondary pneumothorax cases, whereas ACCP suggests a chest tube insertion rather than a simple aspiration. BTS and ACCP both recommend surgery for patients with a recurrent pneumothorax and persistent air leak. For patients who decline surgery or are poor surgical candidates, pleurodesis is an alternative recommended by both BTS and ACCP guidelines. Treatment strategies of iatrogenic pneumothorax are very similar to PSP. However, recurrence is not a consideration in iatrogenic pneumothorax.
Keywords: Pneumothorax; Pneumothorax, Primary Spontaneous; Plmonary Bullae Causing Pneumothoraxmary