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: 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: 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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