Postgrad Med J doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2012-131750
  • Images in medicine

Vanishing lung syndrome mimicking pneumothorax

  1. Sheng-Hsiang Lin3,4
  1. 1Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Chi-Mei Medical Center, Liouying, Tainan, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Surgery, New Taipei City Hospital, New Taipei, Taiwan
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, New Taipei City Hospital, New Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Respiratory Therapy, Fu-Jen Catholic University, New Taipei, Taiwan
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sheng-Hsiang Lin, Department of Internal Medicine, New Taipei City Hospital, No 2, Chung-Shan Rd, San-Chong Dist, New Taipei City 24141, Taiwan; linsh01{at}
  • Received 31 December 2012
  • Revised 14 March 2013
  • Accepted 12 April 2013
  • Published Online First 1 May 2013

In patients with a hyperlucent lung, radiological differentiation between a pneumothorax and a giant bulla is not always definitive. This may result in a chest tube insertion into a pulmonary bulla with devastating results or a delay in initiating appropriate treatment for pneumothorax. Usually, distinctions between the pleural line of a pneumothorax and the bulla wall can be made by computed tomography (CT). In addition, the double wall sign of pneumothorax (parallel bulla wall and chest wall outlined by air outside the bulla) is useful in recognising the coexistence of bullae and pneumothoraces.1 Here we report a case of vanishing lung syndrome, which was diagnosed by CT in a man who presented with sudden onset of …

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