Pneumothorax is a condition, whereby air gets collected in the plural cavity, the space between the chest wall and the lungs. This results in collapse of the lung on the affected part. The severity of this condition and the extent of the collapse depends on the amount of air that got deposited in the plural cavity.
This condition is can be classified into two main types:
The consequence and management of secondary pneumothorax is significantly greater as it happens to patients with pre-existing lung diseases.
The other causes for developing this condition are:
Traumatic pneumothorax that occurs following a deep chest trauma such as a gunshot, a stab wound or a fractured rib. Iatrogenic pneumothorax, which can happen following intravenous medical procedures like central line placement, percutaneous liver biopsy, lung biopsy or following a mechanical ventilation procedure. Catamenial pneumothorax that happens at the time of menstruation. Catamenial pneumothorax represent 3 to 6 percent of spontaneous pneumothorax in women, who are between 30 to 40 years and have a history of pelvic endometriosis in 20 to 40 percent of the cases. Catamenial pneumothorax typically happens in the right lung of the patients, within 72 hours from the onset of menstruation.
For diagnosis of lung collapse, the doctor listens to the patient’s lung with the help of a stethoscope, while asking the patient to breathe in and out deeply. If there is a pneumothorax then the doctor will have trouble hearing breath sounds while listening to the affected lung. The doctor may also order for an imaging test, to find a better view of the patient’s lung. Generally a chest X-ray or a CT scan is advised for diagnosing patients with collapsed lungs. The only treatment for pneumothorax is to restore normal functioning of the lungs, by eradicating external pressure on the lungs. Normally a small or mild pneumothorax doesn’t require any treatment. In this case the doctor generally monitors the patient’s condition and ensures that it gets better over time. Sometimes oxygen therapy is prescribed to provide extra oxygen to the lungs. Additionally patients suffering from lung collapse are advised to take plenty of rest.
If the pneumothorax is large, doctor can use a needle to remove air from the plural cavity.