Collapsed lung

Alternative Names

Air around the lung; Air outside the lung; Pneumothorax; Spontaneous pneumothorax

Definition of Collapsed lung

A collapsed lung, or pneumothorax, is the collection of air in the space around the lungs. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand as much as it normally does when you take a breath.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

A collapsed lung may result from chest trauma, such as gunshot or knife wounds, rib fracture, or after certain medical procedures.

Symptoms

Almost everyone who has a collapsed lung has the following symptoms:

Signs and tests

There are decreased or no breath sounds on the affected side when heard through a stethoscope.

Treatment

A small pneumothorax may go away on its own. You may only need oxygen and rest. The health care provider may use a needle to pull the extra air out from around the lung so it can expand more fully. You may be allowed to go home if you live near the hospital.

Expectations (prognosis)

If you have a collapsed lung, you are more likely to have another one in the future if you:

Review

David A. Kaufman, MD, Section Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Bridgeport Hospital-Yale New Haven Health System, and Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/19/2009

Lungs
Aortic rupture, chest X-ray
Pneumothorax - chest X-ray
Respiratory system
Chest tube insertion - series
Pneumothorax - series

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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