Pneumothorax is a condition of the Lungs when there is an excess amount of air invades the pleural space.

Can be divided into two primary types: Spontaneous (without trauma) or Traumatic.

Pneumothorax is a synonym for a condition more commonly known as a Collapsed Lung.

Can be an emergent condition and medical attention may be required immediately.

Often an X-ray or CT scan is required for Diagnosis

Spontaneous can be divided into Primary and Secondary



1.)  Primary is when it occurs with no underlying lung condition

2.)  Secondary is the result of an underlying lung condition

3.)  Traumatic is a result of trauma to lung tissue or a blunt trauma into lung

4.)  Iatrogenic is a result of procedures near the lungs such as a biopsy [or other]
resulting in a collapse

5.) Tension is a medical emergency


Primary pneumothorax is typically seen in a tall, thin young men between the ages of 10 and 30.

It is also seen in those who have Marfan syndrome.

Family history and smoking may be related.


Secondary causes



  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain with breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Hypoxia  –  loss of oxygen
  • A penetrating chest wound
  • Difficulty to talk
  • Cyanosis  [turning blue]



Depends on the severity of the pneumothorax

  • Some small pneumothorax require no treatment
  • Oxygen is essential
  • Chest tube placement
  • Pleurodesis  –  chemical placement that causes irritation
  • Talc may be used
  • Cessation of smoking
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Open Thoracotomy

1/3 of those having pneumothorax will have a reoccurring episode

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