gms | German Medical Science

17. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Thoraxchirurgie

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Thoraxchirurgie

11.09. bis 13.09.2008, Bremen

Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Treatment of Spontaneous Pneumothorax: Results of 30 Cases in a Peripheral Teaching Hospital

Meeting Abstract

  • B. Velstra - Spaarneziekenhuis Hoofddorp
  • A. van der Elst - Spaarneziekenhuis Hoofddorp
  • C. Melissant - Spaarneziekenhuis Hoofddorp
  • G. Akkersdijk - Spaarneziekenhuis Hoofddorp

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Thoraxchirurgie. 17. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Thoraxchirurgie. Bremen, 11.-13.09.2008. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2008. Doc08dgt50

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: October 22, 2008

© 2008 Velstra et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Spontaneous pneumothorax is a relatively common condition with an incidence of 5–15 per 100,000 residents per year. The primary treatment usually consists of observation, aspiration or introducing a chest tube. In persistent or recurrent cases (40%) surgical treament can be considered. Before video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) was initiated in the 90’s of the last century bullectomy and/or pleurectomy was performed by an open transaxillary thoracotomy. Benefits of the minimally invasive procedure are shorter length of hospital stay (8.3–11.4 versus 19–22.2 days), less postoperative pain and superior cosmetic outcome. Recurrence rates vary from 4–13% after VATS versus 0-3.6% following thoracotomy.

Since July 2005, 151 patients have visited our clinic with a pneumothorax. 79 patients were treated conservatively, 72 primarily with a chest tube (in 3 patients chemical pleurodesis was performed in a later stage). In 30 (20%) patients VATS was used for persistent (12), recurrent (15) or persistent and recurrent (3) pneumothorax. 12 of these 30 patients were initially treated conservatively and the other 18 patients with a chest tube. Conversionrate, length of hospital stay and relapses were retrospectively analysed. Patients’ characteristics are shown in Table 1 [Tab. 1].

In one case conversion was necessary because of pleural thickening (“Schwarte”). Mean hospital stay was 10.3 (range 4- 68) days; post-operative stay 6.7 (range 4–43) days. After a mean follow up of 20 (range 0.7–35) months there were 4 (14%) recurrences. All were treated with an extensive pleurectomy. No complications occured following VATS.

Conclusion: As our experience with VATS in a peripheral teaching hospital shows results in accordance with literature for length of hospital stay and recurrence rate, we consider this the first option in a patient group for which a surgical treatment is indicated.