Pneumothorax is the collection of air or gas in the space around the lungs.
Air around the lung; Air outside the lung
Note: Symptoms may begin during rest or sleep.
Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:
Signs and tests:
There are decreased or no breath sounds on the affected side when heard through a stethoscope.
Small pneumothoraces may go away on their own.
For larger pneumothoraces, the air must be removed from around the lung. A chest tube placed between the ribs into the space around the lungs helps drain the air and allows the lung to re-expand. The chest tube can be left in place for several days. The person must stay in the hospital while the chest tube is in place.
Some people need extra oxygen to help air around the lung be reabsorbed more quickly. Surgery may be needed to prevent future episodes.
Up to 50% of patients who have a pneumothorax will have another, but there are no long-term complications after successful treatment.
- Recurrent pneumothorax
- Tension pneumothorax with shock
Calling your health care provider:
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of pneumothorax, especially if you have had this condition before.
There is no known way to prevent pneumothorax, but you can decrease your risk by not smoking.
Baumann MH, Strange C, Heffner JE, Light R, Kirby TJ, Klein J, et al. Management of spontaneous pneumothorax. Chest. February 2001;199:590-602.
Murray J, Nadel J. Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2000.
Marx J. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2002.
|Review Date: 8/10/2007|
Reviewed By: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Veteran Affairs, VA System, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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