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Pneumothorax after a roller coaster ride
  1. D Thakur,
  2. M Pocha
  1. Cygnet Wing, Bedford Hospital, Kempston Road, Bedford MK42 9DJ, UK; deepshikha{at}

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Shortly after enjoying a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, this 16 year old boy felt a sharp pain in his chest and experienced some difficulty in breathing. Ten days later he was brought to the A&E department by his mother for evaluation, because of persistent pain and difficulty in breathing. He was a non-smoker and had previously been fit and healthy.

At 170.9 cm, his height was on 50th centile and he had no marfanoid features. On examination, there was no respiratory distress but the air entry was reduced on the right side. Chest x ray examination confirmed pneumothorax on the right side (fig 1). He was given 100% oxygen for a couple of hours to aid resolution of the pneumothorax. A week later there was little change in his chest x ray findings; however, by 2 weeks there was a complete resolution of the pneumothorax.

Figure 1

 Chest radiograph showing pneumothorax.

There have been no previous citations of occurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax after roller coaster rides, but occurrence of pneumothoraces in previously healthy lungs has been described in relation to sudden pressure changes1 and exposure to loud music.2 In our case it seems to be a combination of both.


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  • Competing interests: none declared

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