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A 15-year-old boy is admitted with sudden onset chest pain and breathlessness. Chest x-ray shows a small pneumothorax. He has no background health problems. He is treated conservatively with high-flow oxygen, as the registrar has been taught this can improve the resolution rate of pneumothoraces. The consultant questions the biological plausibility of this treatment.
Structured clinical question
In patients with spontaneous pneumothorax (population), does treatment with oxygen (intervention) increase resolution rate (outcome)?
Search strategy and outcome
Medline (1950 to present) was searched via the Ovid interface on 6 July 2009. ‘Pneumothorax’ [MeSH] and ‘oxygen inhalation therapy’ [MeSH] with no limits produced 113 results, two of which were relevant.
EMBASE (Ovid) was searched using the headings ‘spontaneous pneumothorax’ [MeSH] and ‘oxygen therapy’ [MeSH] with no limits producing 23 results, none of which were relevant.
The reference list of …