Lung collapse – pneumothorax

During a lung collapse, the air has entered the lung sac, which surrounds the lung. Then the lung itself will collapse completely or partially and you will find it difficult to breathe. A minor lung collapse often heals by itself. Major lung collapse is treated in hospitals. During a lung collapse, the air has entered the lung sac, which surrounds the lung. Then the lung itself will collapse completely or partially and you will find it difficult to breathe. A minor lung collapse often heals by itself. Major lung collapse is treated in hospitals. During a lung collapse, the air has entered the lung sac, which surrounds the lung. Then the lung itself will collapse completely or partially and you will find it difficult to breathe. A minor lung collapse often heals by itself. Major lung collapse is treated in hospitals.

Lung collapse is also called pneumothorax.

Symptoms of lung collapse

In the case of lung collapse, you usually have one or more of the following problems:

  • It hurts your chest when you breathe.
  • The pain comes suddenly but may diminish after some time.
  • It feels heavy to breathe.

When and where should I seek care?

If you think you or your child has a pulmonary collapse, contact a health center or on-call clinic immediately. If closed, seek care at an emergency room.

If it’s in a hurry

Call medical help immediately if you or your child have persistent chest pain or are very difficult to breathe.

Investigations

The doctor listens to you or your child’s lungs with a stethoscope. The diagnosis is established with a  pulmonary x-ray.

Treatment for lung collapse

A minor lung collapse often heals by itself.

The air needs to be sucked out of the lungs if the doctor believes that the lung collapse will not heal by itself. It is done through a small tube in the lung sac. The hose is connected to a valve located on the outside of the chest. When you breathe, as usual, the air in the lung sac is sucked out.

You get anesthesia in the skin when the hose and valve are put in place, and usually it does not feel like having the hose in the body.

You can leave the hospital on the same day as the procedure. You have the hose and valve in the body. After a few days, you may come back for a check. The doctor removes the valve and hose when checked that the lungs look good. The check is done with the pulmonary x-ray.

A more complicated lung collapse may need to be treated with a slightly coarser hose that is connected to a special suction machine. The machine sucks out the air and keeps the lung stretched until the lung has healed. With this treatment for lung collapse, you can stay in the hospital for a few days, until the doctor sees that the lung can be kept stretched by itself.  

Surgery may be needed if the treatment of lung collapse does not help, or if you have multiple lung collapses.

Most people who receive treatment are completely restored

What happens in the body?

The lungs are in the lung sacs in the chest. For the lungs to be stretched, there is some suppression in the lung sac. The air pressure in the lung sac changes if there is a hole in the lung or the lung sac. Then the lungs collapse completely or partially.

What causes lung collapse?

A lung collapse can be due to many different things. It is not always possible to know what the reason is. This may be due to an injury to the chest, for example, if you have broken a rib. The lung can also collapse if a pulmonary bladder breaks down. 

Lung collapse occurs mainly in younger people who are sports, people who smoke, in long narrow people and in people who are older than 70 years.

How can I prevent a lung collapse?

Smoking increases the risk of lung collapse. There are many benefits to quitting smoking. Learn more about helping to quit smoking.

Complications

You who have once had a lung collapse have an increased risk of getting a new one.

When a lung collapses, the air that has entered the lung sac may not come out. It can also cause the second lung to collapse. It is very uncommon for both lungs to collapse. It is life-threatening, but if you get the quick treatment you will be fine again.

Influence and participate in your care

In order for you to be active in your care and to make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare personnel. Ask questions if you don’t understand.

You have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter. You also have the opportunity to get help from an interpreter if you have a hearing loss. 

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