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Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Spontaneous pneumothorax is a condition where the lung collapses due to accumulation of air or gas in the chest. The lung caves in due to inability to fill up with air during inhalation. This can happen to thin tall men without any prior symptoms. Spontaneous pneumothorax is more pronounced among men, especially smokers. Primary spontaneous pneumothorax occurs without any history of lung disease. It is usually attributed to the rupture of a air-filled sac within the lung. Secondary spontaneous pneumothorax is noticed among persons who are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma, cystic fibrosis or lung cancer.

Primary spontaneous pneumothorax usually occurs in persons less than 40 years. On the other hand, secondary spontaneous pneumothorax is noticed among older patients. Sudden shock or low blood pressure or distended neck veins can bring on a condition of tension pneumothorax. This type of pneumothorax can also result from a serious accident or violent crime.


Breathlessness is the most prominent symptom of pneumothorax. There is dull or stabbing pain in the chest that is accentuated by coughing. A patient suffering from spontaneous pneumothorax experiences shortness of breath and abnormal breathing patter. The patient feels agitated and enlarged neck veins will be observed. A physician will conduct a thorough physical examination and listen to your heart and breath sounds if he suspects a spontaneous pneumothorax condition. A chest x ray can confirm the collapse of the lung. The level of oxygen in the blood is measured with a pulse oximeter or an arterial blood gas analysis.


Treatment for spontaneous pneumothorax involves removal of air from the pleural space so as to allow the lungs to expand again. It may take several days for the lungs to re expand. A Catheter is used for aspiration of air from the pleural cavity. A chest tube is placed between the ribs to allow the air to be evacuated from that space. Doxycyline may be passed through the chest tube to seal the space.


  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid scuba diving and flying in aircrafts without sufficient pressure control
  • Sleep with your head at elevated position
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 10, 2017