Buffalo Chest (Pleuro-Pleural Communication)


  • Origin of Term “Buffalo Chest”: originates from the American bison (buffalo), one of the few mammals which normally has bilaterally-interconnected pleural spaces
    • This anatomic feature of the buffalo made it easier for Great Plains American Indians to kill the buffalo with a single arrow shot to the thorax (which resulted in bilateral pneumothorax and rapid death of the animal)


  • Anatomic Variant: rare
  • Lung Transplant (see Lung Transplant, [[Lung Transplant]])
  • Mediastinal Surgery


  • Pleuro-Pleural Communication


  • Increased Risk of Bilateral Pneumothorax (see Pneumothorax, [[Pneumothorax]])


  • Images in Clinical Medicine: “Buffalo Chest”. N Engl J Med 2003; 349:1829; November 6, 2003; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm010281
  • Case of the month: Buffalo chest: a case of bilateral pneumothoraces due to pleuropleural communication. Emerg Med J. 2006 Jun; 23(6): 483–486 [MEDLINE]