Evaluation and Management of Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Systematic Review From the APSA Outcomes & Evidence-Based Practice Committee.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2023.03.018


INTRODUCTION: Controversy exists in the optimal management of adolescent and young adult primary spontaneous pneumothorax. The American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) Outcomes and Evidence-Based Practice Committee performed a systematic review of the literature to develop evidence-based recommendations.

METHODS: Ovid MEDLINE, Elsevier Embase, EBSCOhost CINAHL, Elsevier Scopus, and Wiley Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were queried for literature related to spontaneous pneumothorax between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2020, addressing (1) initial management, (2) advanced imaging, (3) timing of surgery, (4) operative technique, (5) management of contralateral side, and (6) management of recurrence. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed.

RESULTS: Seventy-nine manuscripts were included. Initial management of adolescent and young adult primary spontaneous pneumothorax should be guided by symptoms and can include observation, aspiration, or tube thoracostomy. There is no evidence of benefit for cross-sectional imaging. Patients with ongoing air leak may benefit from early operative intervention within 24-48 h. A video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) approach with stapled blebectomy and pleural procedure should be considered. There is no evidence to support prophylactic management of the contralateral side. Recurrence after VATS can be treated with repeat VATS with intensification of pleural treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The management of adolescent and young adult primary spontaneous pneumothorax is varied. Best practices exist to optimize some aspects of care. Further prospective studies are needed to better determine optimal timing of operative intervention, the most effective operation, and management of recurrence after observation, tube thoracostomy, or operative intervention.


TYPE OF STUDY: Systematic Review of Level 1-4 studies.

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Journal of pediatric surgery





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MeSH Keywords

Child; Humans; Adolescent; Young Adult; Pneumothorax; Chest Tubes; Thoracic Surgery, Video-Assisted; Thoracotomy; Evidence-Based Practice; Retrospective Studies; Recurrence; Treatment Outcome


Adolescent and young adult; Asymptomatic; High resolution computed tomography; Imaging; Management; Pediatric; Primary spontaneous pneumothorax; Recurrence; Technique; Timing

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