Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Pneumothorax due to Injury Overview

Another name for Pneumothorax due to Injury is Traumatic Pneumothorax.

What is a traumatic pneumothorax?
A person with traumatic pneumothorax has air trapped in the space between the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest wall. The air enters this space when the lung is punctured during an injury. The most common cause of a traumatic pneumothorax is a chest injury that results in a severe rib fracture. The broken rib punctures the lung.

What are the symptoms of a traumatic pneumothorax?
Symptoms of a traumatic pneumothorax include difficulty breathing, cough, excessive sweating, faintness, and sharp chest pain that is worse during a deep breath. Symptoms of worsening traumatic pneumothorax include severe difficulty breathing, coughing blood, and fainting. Symptoms of severe difficulty breathing include rib retractions, nasal flaring, and use of additional muscles while inhaling.

How does the doctor treat a traumatic pneumothorax?
Treatment for a traumatic pneumothorax includes oxygen therapy and a chest tube, which removes air that has collected between the inside of the chest and the outside of the lung. Treatment for a severe traumatic pneumothorax may also include surgery to repair the injured lung.

Continue to Pneumothorax due to Injury Incidence

Last Updated: Jul 29, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Pneumothorax due to Injury References
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  2. Ferguson M, Luchette FA. Management of blunt chest injury. Respir Care Clin N Am. 1996 Sep;2(3):449-66. [9390891]
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  5. Wanek S, Mayberry JC. Blunt thoracic trauma: flail chest, pulmonary contusion, and blast injury. Crit Care Clin. 2004 Jan;20(1):71-81. [14979330]
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