Persistent massive hydropneumothorax in a young woman with pulmonary adenoid cystic carcinoma: An unusual and rapidly fatal presentation

Laura M. Allen, Muammar A. Arida, Thomas L. Zurbriggen, Gregory P. Thompson, Brian R. Manske, Laurence C. Berg, Eric Edell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Primary lung cancer rarely presents with pneumothorax, and when it does one needs to consider endobronchial obstruction as a possible etiology. We present the case of a 31-year-old woman who was diagnosed with asthma within the past 2 years and was recently treated for pneumonia. She presented with persistent massive hydropneumothorax. She had concurrent endobronchial obstruction secondary to adenoid cystic carcinoma. Her pneumothorax decreased with relief of her endobronchial obstruction after interventional bronchoscopy. This case report discusses different types of pneumothoraces and emphasizes that some types are not relieved by chest tube placement, but by relief of endobronchial obstruction. Also emphasized are radiographic findings suggestive of endobronchial obstruction, which should be suspected in an adult with new onset of wheezing with no risk factors and no earlier diagnosis of asthma; this obstruction may be cancerous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-51
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011



  • Bronchopleural fistula
  • Cylindroma
  • Pneumothorax ex vacuo
  • Pulmonary adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Resistant hydropneumothorax
  • Secondary spontaneous pneumothorax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Cite this