Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
A spontaneous pneumothorax, also referred to as a primary
pneumothorax, occurs in the absence of a traumatic injury to the chest or a
known lung disease. A secondary (also termed complicated) pneumothorax occurs as
a result of an underlying condition.
What causes a pneumothorax?
The lungs normally inflate by increasing the size of the chest cavity, resulting in a negative (vacuum) pressure in the pleural space (the area within the chest cavity but outside the lungs). If air enters the pleural space either by a hole in the lung or the chest wall, the pressure in the pleural space equals the pressure outside the body. Thus, the vacuum is lost and the lung collapses.
Spontaneous pneumothorax is caused by a rupture of a cyst or a small sac (bleb) on the surface of
the lung. Pneumothorax may also occur following an injury to the chest wall such
as a fractured rib, any penetrating injury (gun shot or stabbing), surgical
invasion of the chest, or may be deliberately induced in order to collapse the
lung. A pneumothorax can also develop as a result of underlying lung diseases,
cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung
cancer, asthma, and infections of the lungs.
There are many causes of chest pain, and while many are not serious, it may be difficult to distinguish among heart attack, pulmonary embolus or aortic dissection, and another diagnosis that is not life-threateni"...