Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.

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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Comment from: steve, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I have had the surgery to fix my pneumothorax two weeks ago and I still get waves of extreme breathlessness. I returned to hospital yesterday because I started getting a tingling feeling in my hands and feet and could not breathe very well. They could not find a reason for this. I'm back at home and still cannot breathe well and am really scared to walk around. All I can do is hope this will subside soon.

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Comment from: momoftwo, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 21

I woke up one morning and had a pain in the left shoulder. It continued down my back. Heart disease runs in my family so I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the emergency room (ER) where they told me I had a collapsed lung. They inserted a tube in the ER and admitted me. Two days later after they shut the suction off it collapsed again. I had to go into surgery. The following day I had to undergo surgery again because I had lost 4 pints of blood. After being in the hospital for a week they sent me home. They told me the pneumothorax happened from the blebs bursting. They told me if I smoked again the right side will fall too and then I will have to go through it again. It has only been 3 weeks. I am still in a lot of pain and am going to have a bad scar on the left side. I have never been a vain person, but I am deformed for life. That is very depressing. Your body goes through so many things after you experience something like this. It is definitely something I wouldn't want anyone to go through. I have had to change my whole life. I am of average height and weight. They tell me it was all from smoking. My advice would be to never start and if you already do, quit now before it happens to you.

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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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