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Music: a new cause of primary spontaneous pneumothorax
  1. M Noppen1,
  2. S Verbanck1,
  3. J Harvey2,
  4. R Van Herreweghe1,
  5. M Meysman1,
  6. W Vincken1,
  7. M Paiva3
  1. 1Interventional Endoscopy Clinic and Respiratory Division, Academic Hospital AZ VUB, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2Respiratory Division, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK
  3. 3Laboratoire de Physique Biomédicale, ULB, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr M Noppen
    Head, Interventional Endoscopy Clinic, Academic Hospital AZ VUB, 101 Laarbeeklaan, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium;


Most cases of primary spontaneous pneumothorax are thought to be caused by air leaks at so-called “emphysema-like changes” or in areas of pleural porosity at the surface of the lung. Environmental pressure swings may cause air leaks as a result of transpulmonary pressure changes across areas of trapped gas in the distal lung. This is the first report of music as a specific form of air pressure change causing pneumothorax (five episodes in four patients). While rupture of the interface between the alveolar space and pleural cavity in these patients may be linked to the mechanical effects of acute transpulmonary pressure differences caused by exposure to sound energy in association with some form of distal air trapping, we speculate that repetitive pressure changes in the high energy-low frequency range of the sound exposures is more likely to be responsible. Exposure to loud music should be included as a precipitating factor in the history of patients with spontaneous pneumothorax.

  • spontaneous pneumothorax
  • sound
  • music
  • pathogenesis

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