HealthDay News — Pneumothorax is being reported as a complication of COVID-19, and has higher incidence among men and lower survival among older patients, according to a study published online in the European Respiratory Journal.

Anthony W. Martinelli, PhD, from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, England, and colleagues retrospectively collected cases from UK hospitals limited to patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19 and presence of pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum. Data were included for 71 patients, 60 of whom had pneumothoraces (6 with pneumomediastinum) and 11 had pneumomediastinum alone.

Two of the patients with pneumomediastinum alone had distinct episodes of pneumothorax, resulting in a total of 62 pneumothoraces. The researchers observed no difference in survival at 28 days following pneumothorax or isolated pneumomediastinum (63.1%±6.5% and 53.0%±18.7%, respectively). Men had higher incidence of pneumothorax. Survival at 28 days did not differ for men vs women (62.5%±7.7% vs 68.4%±10.7%). Compared with younger patients, those aged 70 years and older had significantly lower 28-day survival (41.7%±13.5% vs 70.9%±6.8% survival).

“Although a punctured lung is a very serious condition, COVID-19 patients younger than 70 tend to respond very well to treatment,” Martinelli said in a statement. “Older patients or those with abnormally acidic blood are at greater risk of death and may therefore need more specialist care.”

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