Spontaneous pneumothorax in flight as first manifestation of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Yi Chang Lin, Wen Kuan Chiu, Hung Chang, Yeung Leung Cheng, Jen Chin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a genetic condition that increases the risk of a variety of conditions including pulmonary emphysema and chronic liver disease. We report on a 33-yr-old male fighter pilot with early-onset pulmonary emphysema with bullae who developed spontaneous pneumothorax during in-flight combat training. A CT scan of his chest after removal of the chest tube showed multiple variably sized bullae and pulmonary cysts scattered throughout both lungs. Serum levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin were markedly decreased. Genetic analyses showed a PI ZZ genotype. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency often goes undiagnosed by flight surgeons, which is a risk to flight safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)704-706
Number of pages3
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
  • Barotraumas
  • Bulla
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Emphysema

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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