Pneumothorax is the presence of free air between the visceral and parietal pleura. It is a collapsed lung. A pneumothorax occurs when air leaks into the space between your lung and chest wall. This air pushes on the outside of your lung and makes it collapse. Pneumothorax symptoms are easy to be determined and diagnosis is entirely clinical.
The disease is classified as:
– Spontaneous – is not preceded by trauma or physical effort. Most often due to the rupture of a small, peculiar veil. It may occur in patients with asthma, bullous emphysema, pneumocosclerosis, bronchogenic carcinoma, Marfan syndrome, or pneumonia.
– Traumatic – pneumothorax is often caused by a dull (with a fracture of the rib, a rupture of the bronchus or the esophagus) or penetrating chest trauma (puncture or fire). It may be iatrogenic when attempting to channel a central venous vessel.
– Tensio-pneumatic pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition. It occurs when air progressively enters the pleural space but can not leave it (valve mechanism). Increasing pressure causes a collapse of the lung and pushes the mediastinum contralaterally. This leads to large vessels being pressed and decreased venous flow and cardiac output. The whole process can happen very quickly and lead to heart arrest for a few minutes.
Complaints may range from mild to severe dyspnoea, shock, and life-threatening lung and heart failure. The leading pneumothorax symptoms are:
– Sudden, severe pain in the chest area
– Dyspnoea, tachypnea
– Absent or severely reduced breathing in auscultation of the affected chest
– Deviation of the trachea
– Tympanism at percussion
The diagnosis is entirely clinical.