Pneumothorax

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A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung, accumulation of air in the pleural space. Pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between lungs and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of a lung and makes it collapse. In most cases, only a portion of the lung collapses. A pneumothorax can be caused by a blunt or penetrating chest injury, certain medical procedures involving lungs or damage from underlying lung disease. Chest trauma carries an estimated 10-50% risk of associated pneumothorax. Sometimes, pneumothorax occurs for no obvious reason. When the lung collapses, it causes sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. A small, uncomplicated pneumothorax may quickly heal on its own. When the pneumothorax is larger, doctors usually insert a tube or needle between ribs to remove the excess air. Primary spontaneous pneumothoraces occur in young people without known respiratory illnesses. Patients with pre-existing pulmonary diseases may develop secondary spontaneous pneumothoraces. A tension pneumothorax is a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention to decompress the involved hemithorax. Patients with pneumothoraces typically complain of dyspnea and chest pain. In tension pneumothorax, patients are distressed with rapid labored respirations, cyanosis, profuse diaphoresis, and tachycardia. First-line treatment of pneumothoraces includes observation with supplemental oxygen therapy, percutaneous aspiration of the air in the pleural space, chest-tube thoracostomy, and in some cases video-assisted thoracoscopy or thoracostomy. Patients who suffer spontaneous pneumothoraces are at risk for recurrence. Pleurodesis (either by mechanical abrasion or by chemical irritation of pleural surfaces) is used to limit the likelihood of recurrence.

Symptoms:

Laboratory Test Procedures:

shortness of breath
difficulty breathing
chest pain under the rib cage
sudden, sharp chest pain on the same side as the affected lung
feel air hunger or drowning
confusion
fast heartbeat
pale gray or blue skin color

pH - arterial blood
pO2 (partial pressures of oxygen)
pCO2 (partial pressures of carbon dioxide)
HCO3 (bicarbonate)
Bicarbonate (CO2)
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Copyright © 2017 SmrtX Last updated: Friday, January 6th, 2017