Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.

Comment from: Rob K, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 25

I had spontaneous total collapse of my right lung (pneumothorax) at 04.30 in the morning about 4 weeks ago. I tried to turn over in bed but a sharp pain in the chest stopped me. I rolled back and simply went back to sleep! At 06.30 I got up for work and was instantly panting and very out of breath. I drove to work but was instantly sent home. I got a lift to the emergency room and within 10 minutes had a drain put in. I had a local aesthetic but there was no time to let it work. The pain was pretty horrific, not just under the arm where the drain went in but in the shoulder too. Apparently the nerves are all interconnected. The lung re-inflated to 90 percent on that first day. Over the next 2 days it gradually collapsed again, after one week of making bubbles in the drain they concluded that the hole was not closing and put suction on the drain which caused a very deep pain. After 2 days I was transferred to a specialist hospital for surgery. I had several enormous blebs over 5 cm across. One of these had burst destroying the bottom part of the lung. In surgery staples were put through the other blebs, the damaged part of the lung was removed and they coated the lung in Talc (a mineral). This formed a glue and stuck the lung to the ribcage so the lung couldn't collapse again. I am finally off the morphine but still in a lot of pain. I quit smoking 2 years ago but the damage had already been done. I expect my left lung to fail at some point; not looking forward to that.

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Comment from: kittyb, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I was a healthy 23 year old woman when I suffered from a spontaneous hemopneumothorax in June 2014. The pain was strange and felt like a pulled back muscle at first, and throughout the course of 12 hours it got worse until I could no longer breathe and had to be carried into the emergency room (ER). Initial x-rays showed fluid in my lungs that was minor but for some reason I flat lined on the table and everything went white. When I came to, I felt so sick and cold. The ER doctor ordered the chest tube and he put it in immediately after minor sedation (I was awake, as I believe most people are, when it was inserted which was the craziest experience of my life). For some reason, I drained almost 2 liters of blood from my lung cavity which was never explained. Since I suffered no trauma, and they didn't find any cancer my diagnosis was the very rare thoracic endometriosis. I wasn't convinced, I went and saw about 6 other doctors, pulmonologists, cardiologist, gynecologists, everyone. My symptoms just don't add up. I was scheduled for the pleurodesis, but cancelled after never really receiving a firm diagnosis (and my scheduled surgeon being in the paper for botching numerous surgeries and being under investigation). So yesterday I started having that same pulled muscle feeling out of nowhere, and I was sure it was happening again (about 16 months later). I kind of panicked, but waited for it to subside. When it didn't I went to the walk in and had a chest x-ray, but everything was normal. I'm still coughing, and I can still feel the pain in the side/back and in my shoulders, etc. I've been having hot flashes and have recently stopped taking birth control and have not had a menstrual cycle in over a month which is not normal for me (not pregnant, was also tested for that last night). I'm afraid that this is the calm before the storm, and the fact that I haven't had a period in a long time may be triggering something. I wish there were more answers out there, it seems more people than expected suffer from these.

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Comment from: sue, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I first suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax at 17 years of age. I had hospital rest at the time. In years to follow I had 4 more attacks; by this time I was a mother to 6 children. It happened again just before taking my children to school one morning. I knew what was happening but trying to stay calm I took my kids to the bus stop but asked one of my children to stay home, explaining I did not feel well. Arriving back home I asked my daughter to call 000. A tube was inserted under my arm pit area to relieve pressure on the lung and pleural wall, and an emergency operation followed, and I spent 7 days in ICU. I had cysts on the top of my lung and they were removed. That was 11 years ago now, and today my 20 year old son has developed the same problem. I am heartbroken to think of what he has to go through.

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Comment from: tamtam, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

My pneumothorax resulted from being stabbed in the back with a knife. I really didn't even know that my lung had collapsed as I was in shock from the stabbing. However, that shock quickly disappeared with the insertion of the chest tubes. That was extremely painful (literally worse than childbirth) and the subsequent removal was just as bad. I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy. It has been just over 6 months now and I still have some residual pain (tightness) when taking deep breaths. I see the recurrence rate of the lung collapsing again is 50 percent. I don't think I could go through that again!

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Pneumothorax - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your pneumothorax?
Pneumothorax - Treatment Question: Were you hospitalized for your pneumothorax? What types of treatment did you receive, including medication?

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