Age and Clinical Presentation for Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Marco Ghisalberti, Francesco Guerrera, Andrea De Vico, Luca Bertolaccini, Angela De Palma, Alfonso Fiorelli, Piero Paladini, Enrico Ruffini, Roberto Crisci, Mario Nosotti, Paolo Mendogni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) is a commonly known condition due to the accumulation of air in the pleural space in otherwise healthy people, without apparent underlying lung disease. To date, the exact pathogenesis of PSP is unclear, but it still represents a public health issue. We performed a review of the literature concerning the epidemiology of PSP, examining age of onset and presentation symptoms, in order to assess the possible correlation between these characteristics and its occurrence. Data concerning age, signs, and symptoms were collected. For description purposes, information regarding aetiological and anthropomorphic data was also gathered. In total, 265 papers were evaluated. Regarding age of onset, PSP is a disease that can occur in a broad age group with a double cluster (15–30 and 40–45 yr). Regarding symptoms, pain and dyspnoea (in its various forms) are the most described in PSP. Pain was recorded in 69.25% (range, 9–100%) of the population studied, whereas dyspnoea was present in an average of 54.55% (range, 27–77.1%). Tobacco exposure seems to play an important role in the early onset of PSP. Concerning age at presentation, this review highlights that PSP can occur over a broad age range. The literature appears to be consistent in reporting PSP occurrence mostly below 45 years of age. Asymptomatic PSP is an almost unseen entity. Finally, of pollutants, cigarette smoking should be considered as the most significant exogenous risk factor in the development of PSP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1648-1655
JournalHeart Lung and Circulation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Clinical presentation
  • Epidemiology
  • Pneumothorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Age and Clinical Presentation for Primary Spontaneous Pneumothorax'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this