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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is a pneumothorax?
A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung, a condition that occurs when air leaks into the cavity - called the pleural space - between the lungs and chest wall.
What are the symptoms of pneumothorax?
A pneumothorax does not always cause any symptoms, but if they do occur, they may include shortness of breath, chest pain and a rapid heart rate.
What causes pneumothorax?
There are different types of pneumothoraces, each of which has a specific cause. Some have no known cause and occur in those without any apparent underlying condition. Others may be due to a penetrating or blunt chest trauma or medical procedure. Yet another group …
Who gets pneumothorax?
The different types of pneumothorax have specific causes and are more common in certain patient groups. Tall, thin adult males between the ages of 18-40 are more likely to develop a primary spontaneous pneumothorax, whereas secondary spontaneous pneumothorax is more …
How is pneumothorax diagnosed?
Diagnosis of pneumothorax is usually based on physical examination and a chest X-ray, except for tension pneumothorax, which is a medical emergency and is diagnosed without any imaging or other tests.
How is pneumothorax treated?
The treatment for pneumothorax can vary depending on its type and severity. Non-surgical treatment may include observation, needle aspiration and chest tube insertion. Surgical treatment may involve video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery.
Can pneumothorax be prevented?
Due to the strong link between cigarette smoke and developing a pneumothorax, quitting smoking can reduce the risk of pneumothorax.
What increases the chances of developing pneumothorax?
Risk factors for pneumothorax include: being a tall, thin adult male aged between 18-40 years; being a smoker; having a family history of pneumothoraces, and; having an underlying lung condition.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 15 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
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