- Understanding COPD
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Quiz
- Energizing COPD Diet Foods
- Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Treatment
- Pneumothorax facts
- What is a pneumothorax?
- What are the types of pneumothorax?
- What causes a pneumothorax?
- Who is at risk for pneumothorax?
- What is tension pneumothorax?
- What are the signs and symptoms of pneumothorax?
- How is pneumothorax diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for pneumothorax?
- What is the outcome (prognosis) of pneumothorax?
What is the treatment for pneumothorax?
A small pneumothorax without underlying lung disease may resolve on its own in one to two weeks. A larger pneumothorax and a pneumothorax associated with underlying lung disease often require aspiration of the free air and/or placement of a chest tube to evacuate the air. Possible complications of chest tube insertion include pain, infection of the space between the lung and chest wall (the pleural space), hemorrhage (bleeding), fluid accumulation in the lung, and low blood pressure (hypotension). In some cases, the leak does not close on its own. This is called a bronchopleural fistula, and may require chest surgery to repair the hole in the lung.
What is the outcome (prognosis) of pneumothorax?
The outcome of pneumothorax depends upon the extent and type of pneumothorax. A small spontaneous pneumothorax will generally resolve on its own without treatment. A secondary pneumothorax associated with underlying disease, even when small, is much more serious and carries a significant mortality (death) rate. A secondary pneumothorax requires urgent and immediate treatment. Having one pneumothorax increases the risk of developing the condition again. Most recurrences occur within the first year.
Medically reviewed by James E Gerace, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Pulmonary Disease
The American Lung Association