Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

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What are the types of pneumothorax?

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.

Picture of Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)
Picture of Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)
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Comment from: Allred, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I have had asthma for as long as I can remember. Prior to the first (and hopefully last) time experiencing a spontaneous pneumothorax, I had not had a severe asthma attack for the past seven years. On the evening of January 25, 2016, I began to experience a very severe asthma attack, which I believe was caused by swift changes in temperature. I spent the whole night coughing and wheezing. The next morning I went to Mexico for a doctor's consultation and was prescribed some medication which was supposed to shrink my swollen airways. I felt some relief, but was still short of breath throughout the day, and had some very heavy pressure on my back and thorax. Later that night, while taking a bath, I felt a sharp pain under my breast which quickly subsided. Once I got into bed, my mom applied a heat pad on my back to relieve some of the pressure I felt, and that was when it all went downhill. I immediately felt an excruciating sharp pain on my lung right beneath the shoulder blade. I took some Tylenol to try and relieve the pain, but found it only worsened with each breath or any time I moved. I had never experienced anything similar, and knew it was something serious. I immediately went to the emergency room where I was given a breathing treatment with a nebulizer. I then had an X-ray and CT scan which showed that I had air in my pleural space, and that my right lung had collapsed. I was then admitted into the ICU where I spent the night. I kept receiving breathing treatments, and some pain medication. After further examination, it was decided that I would not have to get a chest tube due to the collapse being minimal. I spent two more days in the hospital and received several more breathing treatments and antibiotics to prevent infection. Overall, it was a pretty painful and scary experience. Luckily it wasn't too grave a situation. I am now feeling really healthy, and only experiencing minimal wheezing. Apparently, the whole thing was caused by my asthma attack. I caused trauma to my lungs from all the coughing. If you are experiencing an asthma attack and are feeling distressed, don't wait too long before seeking treatment! Go to the hospital! Don't wait it for it to escalate to something much worse.

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Comment from: Tracy, Female (Patient) Published: June 16

At age 20 I had my first left sided spontaneous pneumothorax, which was treated with a chest tube. My second occurred at age 23, this being on the right side, and treated in the same fashion. My third happened again within the year of my second and was much worse, requiring a chest tube and replacement of the tube as the lung was not re-inflating properly. I was then referred to thoracic surgery and had a pleurodesis performed on the right lung. This involved stapling of the lung as well as scarring of the chest wall so the lung would re-adhere. I am now 55 years old and have had no other lung issues.

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