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01.12.2018 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery 1/2018

Risk factors and treatment of pneumothorax secondary to granulomatosis with polyangiitis: a clinical analysis of 25 cases

Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery > Ausgabe 1/2018
Xuhua Shi, Yongfeng Zhang, Yuewu Lu



To investigate the risk factors and treatment strategies for pneumothorax secondary to granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA).


Retrospective analysis of cases with pneumothorax secondary to GPA from our own practice and published on literature.


A total of 25 patients, 18 males and 7 females, mean age 44 ± 15.7 years, were analyzed. Diagnosis included pneumothorax (11 cases), hydropneumothorax (n = 5), empyema (n = 8) and hemopneumothorax (n = 1). 88% (22/25) patients showed single/multiple pulmonary/ subpleural nodules with/without cavitation on chest imaging. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were both elevated. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents were used in 16 cases. Five cases received steroid pulse therapy, of which 4 patients survived. Pleural drainage was effective in some patients. Seven patients underwent surgical operations. In the 10 fatal cases, infection and respiratory failure were the most common cause. Lung biopsy/ autopsy showed lung/pleural necrotizing granulomatous vasculitis, breaking into the chest cavity, pleural fibrosis, bronchial pleural fistula, etc. The mean age in the death group was greater than the survival group (53 ± 12.9 years vs 40.1 ± 14.7 years, p = 0.05), the ineffective pleural drainage was also higher in the death group (5/5 vs 0/7, p = 0.01).


Pneumothorax was seen in the active GPA, due to a variety of reasons, and gave rise to high fatality rate. Aggressive treatment of GPA can improve the prognosis. Older and lack of response for pleural drainage indicates poor prognosis.
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