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J Cardiothorac Surg. 2012 Oct 17;7:112. doi: 10.1186/1749-8090-7-112.

What factors predict recurrence of a spontaneous pneumothorax?

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Second Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu, 807-8555, Japan.



The purpose of this retrospective study was to identify the risk factors for postoperative recurrence for the patients with a spontaneous pneumothorax (SP). A total of 214 patients were studied over a period of five years. Of these patients, 189 (88.3%) and 25 (11.7%) underwent video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and an open approach for treatment, respectively. There were 35 (16.4%) postoperative recurrences.


The data on patient characteristics, surgical details, and perioperative outcomes were analyzed. We compared the clinicopathological characteristics between recurrent and non-recurrent cases, and used logistic regression models to predict the risk factors for postoperative recurrence.


The differences in the age, gender, lesion site, location, ipsilateral SP (ISP), and contralateral SP (CSP) did not reach statistical significance between the two groups. However, the incidence of recurrence was higher in the subjects without any smoking history, and who had comorbidities, and a history of surgery for ISP. Concerning intraoperative factors, there were no significant differences with regard to the approach, buttress stapling, covering, surgeon, or length of the operation. The postoperative recurrence rate was higher in the patients who had been hand-stitched compared to those who had undergone instrument-based repair for blebs. There were no significant differences in the perioperative outcomes. The logistic regression models indicated that non smokers, those with comorbidities, and those who had previously undergone surgery for ISP had a higher rate of postoperative recurrence.


We conclude that a history of no smoking, the existence of comorbidities, previous surgery for ISP, and hand stitching increase the risk of postoperative recurrence. Therefore, surgeons must be aware of these risk factors, and more carefully monitor such patients for recurrence.

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