Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience


Please describe your experience with pneumothorax. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: brcats, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I ended up with a pneumothorax on my upper left lobe following IMS (intra-muscular stimulation) with acupuncture needles by a physiotherapist. Long story short I didn't know pneumothorax was a risk and he was super aggressive with the many needles he put into my back. I had chest pain within two hours of the treatment and when I woke up the next morning it was pretty bad. I went to work but struggled with the pain. As it was on the left side, I started to worry I was having a heart attack. I ended up at the emergency room (ER) where a chest x-ray confirmed that I had a small collapse (less than 20 percent). Thankfully I didn't need a chest tube and just needed rest for a few weeks. This was in November 2016. It is now March 2017 and I still get chest pains in the same area as the pain that sent me to the ER. I also now have trouble breathing and a cough following physical exertion. I had no lung problems before the pneumothorax and I am struggling to have a doctor or specialist explain the prognosis as every few weeks my chest hurts so bad I think about going back to the ER. The tell-tale sign for me was the feeling of bubbles in the chest when lying down. I hope I get answers soon.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Understanding COPD
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.

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!

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.

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.

Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 25

I had my spontaneous pneumothorax when I was about 25. I am a male, 6'5. Doctor said it was typical for this category of age/height/gender. I am very active and workout regularly. At first I thought I pulled a pectoral, or some other muscle in my chest. Even my wife (nurse) thought that was what it was. It almost felt like heartburn at times as well. I knew it was something much more serious when I went for a run one day, made it about a mile. I literally could not run or catch my breath. That has never happened before. I went to the first doctor I could and got an x-ray. He forwarded me to the emergency room where I was having my first surgery within minutes. I had the second surgery a couple days later to 'stick' the lung to the chest cavity; this is called pleurodesis. It has been about 2 years now and no issues, just aches and pains (minor). I am running like crazy and working out hard.

Comment from: Sunshine, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I was 34 when I experienced pneumothorax in right lung. I had been having dizzy spells and shortness of breath, but explained it away with what I thought 'I was out of shape'. One morning while blow drying my hair with my head upside down, when I raised back up I could feel a clunking in my chest. It was February, but I wasn't sick; no check congestion. I decided to make an appointment to see my physician. I explained what was happening, and he decided to do an x-ray. Sure enough my lung had started collapsing from the top, around the sides, and the bottom. To make a long story short, after being hospitalized 2 times (for nearly a week both times) they 'glued' my lung so it couldn't collapse. It's now been twenty years and I'm starting to have some weird feelings; chest pain and dizziness. I have been sick with chest cold, so I'll give it a few days hoping maybe I've just pulled a muscle from coughing. If it doesn't go away I will call and make an appointment with the physician.

Comment from: B.w-l, Male (Patient) Published: December 12

I went clubbing one night and after dancing for 5 hours straight, I noticed a pain in my chest which quickly spread to my back and shoulders. Initially I thought that I was going to have a heart attack as I could feel my heart pulsing pretty heavily. Stupidly, I waved it off and walked for 30 minutes with these symptoms to get home. This then happened a week later when I consumed a tin of beer as I was about to go on stage and perform with my band; again I felt a tightness in my chest and also short of breath so I went to the hospital Accident and Emergency to get an x-ray and was diagnosed with a pneumothorax. Luckily they said that the lung only had a small rip in it, so it didn't need operating on and that it would heal in its own time. Ever since the x-ray (which was 6 days ago) I have been feeling really dizzy which has also brought on a loss of appetite. I am a healthy person and have only smoked a few times in my life so this was pretty much of out of the blue for me. Hopefully this won't happen again and affect my future career as a musician.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Jenny0222, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I went to the hospital about two weeks ago now for a biopsy on a lump on my breast and the doctor went to do the last biopsy and hit my lung. I was rushed to Accident and Emergency where they found a large pneumothorax. I am only 27 years old and I now cannot do any working out or play any sports. I have 3 children and I find it hard to run around for them. I hope that I will never have to go through that pain again.

Comment from: Shany, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I got spontaneous pneumothorax when I was 21 years old. My lungs felt a little heavy when I walked and jumped, I had some pain in my upper back, so it seemed and I thought I pulled a muscle or something. I didn't think it was anything serious and I didn't go to a doctor for about a week. My doctor called me after seeing my chest x-ray and told me to go to the emergency room immediately. Silly me, I said, 'do you think I can go in 3 hours because I don't have a ride.' My doctor said I must go now, so I found a ride and went. I got a chest tube that night and was admitted into the hospital. Innocently, I thought I could leave the next day. However, the first tube wasn't the correct tube to insert. And it came out so I had to get another one the next day. Thanks to that I have two scars on my right chest. I ended up staying for 5 days. No one knew the reason why this happened, told me it occurs randomly in males with a long chest or in those who smoke. I do not fit in that category. Hopefully, I never get it again. Stay healthy my friends.

Comment from: ramosm, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 09

I had my spontaneous pneumothorax 7 months ago. What happened to me is this: I was at the gym on Labor Day and tried lifting 90 lb. weight for my shoulder. Then I started to have a pain on my right side, I was thinking that I just pulled out some muscle and I asked my co-worker to stretch me out but it got worse. I started to have that spasm or sharp pain on my right side and my co-worker told me that I looked pale. I told my co-worker to go to the front desk because I was starting to have a shortness of breath. So they called 911 and brought me to the emergency room (ER) then they did some x-ray and found out that my right lung had collapsed. I had to stay at the hospital for surgery, they did VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery) bleb resection and mechanical pleurodesis. I had 2 tubes when I got out of the operating room. After a week my surgeon stop by and told me that there's still leaking in my tubes and the fastest way to do it is to send me back to operation room (OR) again. Take note my surgeon didn"t know why I still had the leaking. So I decided to go back to the ER because I wanted it to be done and get out of the hospital. Second surgery they did was thoracotomy on my right side. And that was so painful afterwards I could barely move, but after 2 weeks I got discharged.

Comment from: Pratik, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: April 29

I woke up from the bed and was chatting with my parents sitting in the couch. I slowly felt some pain in my left shoulder which shifted to front chest in a while. It became terrible and I was feeling shortness of breath. My parents then took me to the hospital after an hour where I was diagnosed with primary spontaneous pneumothorax after a chest x-ray. The lungs had collapsed and hence air was removed in emergency. The lung then came to the original position after surgery. I was under oxygen and ECG surveillance in hospital. Later doctor returned me to my home after 5 days of hospital rest. Catheter was removed on the 5th day. No exact cause or solution was mentioned except some problem in left lobe of lungs.

Comment from: rasha, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I am 25 year old. I had pneumothorax when I was 21. I am not tall, am of medium height. It suddenly happened to me while talking to a friend. I couldn't breathe, felt so weak and couldn"t move my right hand! One of the worst aches ever and my lips turned up blue! I went to the emergency room and they've done a chest tube for one week, then an operation to be sure that there won't be any chance to get a pneumothorax once again. It worked but I still get pain from time to time and it kills me and I wonder how to deal with it. Sometimes I take a deep breath sometimes it stays for days. I should be away from smoking areas and smokers.

Comment from: evi, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 21

I"m a 32 year old very active mom of 3. I have never smoked, never done drugs, not particularly tall. I woke up one day and was short of breath but had no pain. Over the course of the week following I went on with my life. I carried my baby, went to the gym, went bowling, etc. It seemed like I was actually getting better but the cough was what made my husband insist on my seeing a doctor. I was dumbfounded when I heard the diagnosis of pneumothorax. I got a chest tube in the urgent care center (I"d rather give birth again) and was transported to the hospital. The doctor said that it"s probably from lifting weights at the gym. I"m on my third day at the hospital and still had a 10% collapse today. Tube is out though. If it"s still 10% tomorrow I get to go home, finally.

Comment from: Lionman13, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 04

I feel for you all, and had 15 spontaneous pneumothoraces in the mid/late 90"s. It really messed up my junior and senior years in high school. I was on chest tubes, oxygen, and finally had two surgeries. They removed the top halves of both lungs (where the blebs were predominantly), and tacked the lungs to the walls. I have not had any collapses since but some asthma, and constant allergies, and congestion. I have been exercising 3 or 4 times a week for 9 years, and I amaze even myself. I do feel some aches and pains from the scar tissue sometimes, and get upper respiratory infections yearly it seems. Lately I have been having pains, stinging, and dizziness. This started after I hurt myself doing projects around the house (trampoline). I hope it is not my lungs. The doctors tell me it is pleurisy, or a muscular skeletal injury, or acid reflux.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Wendy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 24

I am a fit, healthy female of 44 and have never smoked. I woke up with a pain in my right shoulder, a small dry cough and a feeling as though I"d got air caught in my throat. I thought I"d pulled a muscle. I went to work. During the day it got worse and I struggled to breathe (I thought because it was hurting the pulled muscle). I made an appointment with the emergency nurse at lunchtime for after school and carried on, in a lot of pain. When I went to see the nurse she checked all my signs, and they were good. I was asked to lie on a bed and couldn"t, it was so painful. She asked a doctor to see me, he checked and said he"d send me to hospital to make sure it wasn"t anything serious. The doctor took blood then disappeared. I told my husband that I felt sick and then suggested he get someone. Everything was a blur after that. They had to bring the crash cart in! Anyway, I had a pneumothorax and a hemothorax and they didn"t understand why. I had two chest drains, a blood transfusion, 11 X-rays, 2 CT scans, hourly checks, lots of drugs especially when I came out in a huge rash, transferred to a specialist hospital and all in all was in hospital for 2 weeks and 2 days. I would not want anyone to go through the pain when they insert a drain! After the second one they thought they might have to put another in, I told them they would be putting me to sleep for that one! I am recovering at home now but it"s difficult to know what you can do or can"t. I feel about 112 years old and need to sleep after I do anything. They think it might have been caused by a cyst that burst and caused a collapse of top 2/3 of lung and caused a bleed in the pleura. This means it could happen again. Scary thought really!

Comment from: notjonny, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I am 34 and get small pneumothorax on almost a daily basis. When I was young I would get them much less often, but they were more severe than I get now. My doctor when I was young said it wasn't a big deal and never did anything about it, not even an x-ray. He just said it's painful but not dangerous. In my early 20s I took a lot of Vioxx, and at that time I was getting a lot of medium sized pneumothorax. Very painful, made it hard to breathe. Vioxx was pulled from the shelves because it was giving people heart attacks, and I stopped taking pain pills. I also found out that NSAIDs can cause pneumothorax, so now I don't take any Advil or aspirin or prescribed NSAIDs. I think the large amount of Vioxx made my lungs much more susceptible to the pneumothorax, which is why I get very small ones all the time now. If you get small ones, the best way for it to go away is to just relax. If your breathing is reduced, take in a breath as big as possible and hold it for 30 seconds. Keep doing that a bunch of times and it should increase the amount of air you can take in. I am a 34 year old female with asthma and connective tissue disorder (Ehlers–Danlos syndrome).

Comment from: Whitedove, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I got up to go to work and was short of breath, went to work and when I bent over I could not breath at all. My work called the squad, no pain just couldn"t breathe. I had chest tube, then they took out the tube. But my lung lost air again and I was put back on tube; six days later went home. Four years later I had the same thing happening, this time lung would not keep air, so the doctors went in and super glued my lung to my ribs and stapled the holes in my lung. Twelve days later I went home and had to quit work. The bottom of my lung was so full of holes I lost the half of it. I had no pain at the time it happened, but I stay in pain now from the scars.

Comment from: MADAmbrose, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: February 10

I have to say that (two years ago) when my left lung collapsed, it was truly the worst pain I've ever experienced. My left lung fully collapsed and I could barely breathe. I'm only 26 (was 24 at the time) and I thought I was having a heart attack. It was my left lung (so it was by my heart) and my arm was also hurting (another sign of heart attack), so I really thought I was having a heart attack. While it's rare in people my age, it's still possible. I was just so scared that it didn't matter what it was. I thought I was dying, and from what I've read here about pneumothorax, I very well could have. It just scares me to death knowing that it will probably happen again. I've been getting pains in my chest again recently. I've been to the emergency room again, but they can't/won't do anything until it actually happens. I'm horrified. I don't want to die.

Comment from: lilyum269, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 29

With pneumothorax, I had my left lung collapse three times in 18 days. The first one happened, they placed a chest tube in the emergency room, it re-inflated, and I was sent home a few days later. Upon leaving the hospital my lung collapsed again. I went in the next morning n had another chest tube placed. I had to have surgery to fuse my lung and chest wall together. A few days later they pulled my chest tube from surgery and immediately collapsed my lung again. So I had one more chest tube placed and removed a few days later and since then no problems.

Comment from: Outside-Lookin-iN, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

The first time I had a spontaneous pneumothorax I had no idea what it was and thought I may have just pulled a muscle in my chest. I waited it out and it eventually healed on its own. A few months later I woke up one day with the same pain in the left side of my chest, a few days later that same pain shot down the right side of my chest, little did I know both my lungs had collapsed. I went to the walk-in clinic, got a chest x-ray and went home. About an hour later they called me up and told me to get to the hospital right away, where I was diagnosed with a bilateral spontaneous pneumothorax. Having the chest tube inserted was probably the worst pain I've ever experienced, lying in the hospital bed with two tubes jutting out of either side of my chest was also pretty horrible. The chest tubes didn't work so I needed surgery to repair the problem, I also had a preventive surgery (pleurodesis and pleurectomy I believe) once my lungs were back up. I still have pain over a year later, but at least it's not constant.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Eddy, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I had pain in my chest during a basketball game, I felt I couldn't breathe and the pain increased. I was transported to the emergency room and they diagnosed me with pneumothorax, they didn't make a drain, they only gave me some calming medications to rest and I was out of hospital 5 days after! During this period no tubing was suggested as my lung decreased the collapse from 30% to 5%. But unfortunately the symptoms have shown up again after 5 months after having pneumonia. I had to enter the hospital again but now for a surgery. All went well, it was painful, but since 5 years from the operation it hasn't happened again. Sometimes, especially during winter times, I again feel some pain in the same left lung the, one I had the operation on, but when I take the routine check-up nothing appears. I have also a minor scoliosis and I also had asthma, but it disappeared when I was older.

Comment from: Sonea 1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I am 36 years old. Last year in March I thought I had a cold so I went to urgent care and was told my lung collapsed – I had pneumothorax. I was rushed by EMS to the hospital. A chest tube was put in. I was there three days, the chest tube came out, and I got an X-ray. The next day my lung collapsed again. I was there another 4 days then released. In July to my surprise I was having chest pain and went to the emergency room - my lung had collapsed again. This made the third time in 5 months. I was rushed into surgery, had a thoracotomy done, and a 3rd chest tube put in. I'm now on 3 inhalers and home oxygen. I've never smoked or had any chest injuries so this has all been so very scary for me and my family!

Comment from: Bhatia, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: June 10

I was sitting in my office in front of PC. Suddenly some pain started on my left side of chest, which further resisted my breathing. I felt a lot of pain while deep breathing. I went to hospital next day and the doctors told me that my left lung had collapsed and now chest tube will be inserted to exhale the air out. I was admitted 4 nights and 3 days in hospital. I felt much better after operation, but it's been more than 3 months and I still feel that normalcy is not back. Some strain is still there which is not going with time. Goodness knows when I will be back to normal.

Comment from: hrtldy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax diagnosed via a chest x-ray. The symptoms were chronic cough, gasping for breath and malaise. I had, per surgeon"s view, a collapsed lung for over 2.5 months. There was jelly over the lung and trachea had moved over. Chest tube was inserted and I was put in hospital. I then had to have lung surgery to remove the jelly to try and get the lung to re-inflate. Following surgery I got crepitus. I found a black spot, which was cultured and found to be valley fever. Twelve days later lung had not re-inflated, I departed the hospital on 13th day with a mere 20% lung capacity on the right side.

Comment from: francinescott, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

I just came back from the hospital. This description is right on. I had fluid drained, and surgery and had a tube attached to me to release the air. The doctors are not sure how I got the injury. I am currently recovering and will be doing follow-up this week. This is a very traumatic surgery.

Comment from: JR44, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 18

I had a pneumothorax over five years ago. It took five years of my life away and it is still taking it. I have chronic pain from a dimwit who yanked a chest tube out of me before seeing if it was loose. It was actually attached inside my body. The pain was beyond description. I have been on pain medications ever since and that is another story. I am on Endocet 5/325, however I am still fighting to have the correct dose given to kill the pain I feel. Doctors size you up as an addict instead of treating you as a patient with chronic pain. I have tried many therapies and alternative medications. None worked so I am stuck on this and fighting at the same time.

Comment from: Eileen, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 12

Having had numerous spontaneous pneumothorax over a period of five years, I had a hemopneumothrax with pleural effusions and eventually had surgery in or around 1980. I had a pleurectomy. I am now 66 years old and have never had any problems since having the operation.

Comment from: Matt C, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 03

I started having symptoms of pneumothorax in summer 2012, but it was never bad enough to go see someone until November 2013. I had this back pain below my right shoulder blade and I was trying to twist around and get it, when it suddenly covered the right side of my chest and even spread up into my neck. I went to urgent care the next day and they x-rayed me right away and sent me to the hospital. It was small enough that it went away on its own, but then it happened again two weeks later. It was pretty painful and there's another air pocket that gurgles around and pops in my chest now, especially when bending down.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: kelly, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

The day after my wedding, September 3, 2005 I fell on our yacht, 10ft into the galley while jumping before docking to tie off. I hit the galley stairs and broke 9 ribs, 15 fractures and collapsed my right lung fully. I had a chest tube in for 27 days, was in hospital and on hard drugs the entire time! Recovery was excruciating! It was not much of a honeymoon! Good news is, I was still able to get pregnant and our son was born healthy on August 2, 2006!

Comment from: Donaldd1963, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 18

After my lung collapsed for the third time at the age of forty, it was determined that I have the surgery to stop this. The surgery was fine but since then, if I get hit hard on that side of my chest I am in severe pain for weeks. The surgery was 10 years ago.

Comment from: Der, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

In November of 2012 I had a preventative double mastectomy. A week after I was released from the hospital, I had a horrible pain in my right shoulder blade and was short of breath. I thought it was all related to being "out of shape." A month later I went for a follow-up and was given chest tube for a collapsed lung. I returned for a two-day checkup and it wasn't working. Then I was admitted to the hospital and put on wall suction for four days. On the fifth day I had surgery. I had tubes in my chest for a few days, then after surgery a tube was placed in my belly area. After all this, my lung is up and normal. The bad part is that it's been 2- 1/2 months and I still feel all the holes and worry if it will happen again. I am only 35 years old and haven't smoked in almost one year. I feel I'm in shape and am an active person.

Comment from: kherrell, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I woke up with spontaneous pneumothorax, it got worse as I fed the horses in cold weather, shortness of breath and felt like a ton of bricks sitting on my chest. Pain all subsided when I lay down, I didn't go to the doctor until the following day, they had to insert the chest tube, called a procedure in the ER. That hurt, the tube in there was very uncomfortable but worked. Removal was quick but painful too. Glad to have it out though. Former smoker, but I quit and thought my lungs would rejuvenate! I have a very severe case of scoliosis also, and blame every ailment on it. I'm a 50 yr old female.

Comment from: trackstand, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

I am 21 and recovering from my second pneumothorax. The first was 50% on the right; the second 30% on the left, but I opted for the preventative surgery after the second one. I also got a lung resection/reduction on the left side for some cysts that kept my lung from closing up and making it collapse all over again. I am an athlete, a student, and my job as a messenger required me to be very physical and ride a bike. Right now, all those things hang in the balance of whether the preventative surgery takes. Based on the last X-ray, I have a residual pneumothorax that's complicating the efficacy of the surgery. By the way, for those who get their lungs stapled, such as myself, the cold air can be unnerving for a while. This article should mention more about the VATS surgery.

Comment from: KC, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: December 08

I am still recovering from a spontaneous pneumothorax. I was home for six days with a tube in my chest, which was not fun. After that did not work, I went in for surgery where they removed a part of my lung and scuffed up my chest wall to re-stick the lung to the wall. Apparently, spontaneous pneumothorax can be hereditary. My dad, my brother, and I have all had it; the only difference was that I had it on my left side, and they had it on their right side. If you experience any symptoms, go to the ER right away!

Comment from: chipUSMC, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

I was recently unfortunately able to experience a pneumothorax. I fell down some stairs, fracturing three ribs and collapsing my lung. When I got to the hospital, the lung was 20% collapsed. By the time I was seen, it had gotten to 75% collapsed. A chest tube was placed. A couple days later, I was released and went home. I had many problems in the days to come. The Percocet wasn't enough to treat the pain. After going to the hospital a number of times, I was finally put on Dilaudid.

Comment from: Genie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

The symptom that I had when I experienced a spontaneous pneumothorax was a sharp back pain in my upper right back. Though initially it was extremely painful, which led me to the emergency room, the pain abated. That almost caused me to leave the hospital without being checked. By the time the triage nurse got to me, my right lung was completely collapsed and the left lung had only 35% capacity. I think it is important to mention that a symptom could be back pain as well.

Comment from: Jeff O, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 30

Recently, I was diagnosed and treated for a spontaneous pneumothorax. While the chest tube was in place (very painful), I was as active as I could be. I went walking as often as I could. What I felt happened and made my condition worse was that I felt the pain increase as if the tube was rubbing against the inner wall of my chest. My advice is to stay still, and let the chest tube do its thing.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: Carlos, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 27

My father also had a spontaneous pneumothorax and was advised to opt for lung surgery. I feel worried because of his age, 73 now. As of now the test tube is not removed yet and it is almost 24 days upon insertion.

Comment from: Roz, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 08

I have had 4 kids, so I have a high pain tolerance, but the pain I went through caused by pneumothorax was a pain I hope that I never have to go through again.

Comment from: Jack, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: October 08

I use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for sleep apnea. I awoke recently about 2am with pain in my chest and coughing. I was diagnosed with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax).

Comment from: tom tom, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I began having chest pains and difficulty breathing. I was taken into hospital and had a tube put in within 10 minutes of me arriving, and remained in for 48 hours. Doctors did a chest X-ray and told me my lung was fully inflated. Six hours later after my X-ray I suddenly felt i was gasping for air again. I had another chest X-ray, and to my surprise I was told my lung had collapsed again. Once again, I had to go through that horribly painful procedure of having the tube put back in to inflate my lung again. This time they kept it in for three days and once again, all seemed fine. About an hour after another X-ray the doctors came and told me that it was collapsing once again. I'm waiting on a specialist at the moment to see if he is prepared to do a operation on my lung.

Comment from: JC23, 45-54 Male Published: June 12

Ruined my life. The hospital I ended up at made several critical errors causing extreme nerve damage. I now take narcotics everyday and they don't work much of the time. Before this i would not even take a tylenol. I have tried everything to try to eradicate this pain to no end. That seems to be when the pain will stop as it has driven me crazy .Aside from that being told by my Doctor, who I had to fight for pain killers from just to function. Last option is an injection which can guessed it, another pneumothorax. I would not be able to handle that.

Comment from: tydee, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I was told I had pneumothorax after going to the emergency room one day. I went to see a doctor in April 2012 and told him I was having chest pain on my left side. He advised that it could be a muscle strain and gave me ibuprofen and sent me on my way. Two months later in June, the pains got worse and it started shooting down my left arm and I was short of breath walking up stairs. I went to the emergency room and they told me I had a spontaneous pneumothorax. They gave me oxygen and hydrocodone and sent me on my way. Since then, I have been having chest pain here and there, still have shortness of breath, and still have a rapid heart rate. Even when I stand for a long time my left shoulder starts to hurt (weird, I know). This didn't happen before and doctors can't explain what it is. I went to check on these symptoms again and the doctor says I am OK. I worry about it happening again.

Comment from: e.k.b radley, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: May 01

My first pneumothorax event happened while I was painting overhead. I couldn't get my breath and had a panic attack. I went to the hospital, where the ER doctor inserted a drain tube with suction. This happened two more times within three months – always the right lung. After the third time, the doctor blew talc into a drain tube to try and “glue” my lung bulbs to my chest cavity. It lasted five weeks, and my lung collapsed 35 percent. A surgeon was called in and did a 7-hour operation. So far, no further pneumothorax, but the operation resulted in cutting large amounts of nerves from my left armpit and around my shoulder and back side. This resulted in a large amount of scar tissue, which is hard and feels like a corset on that is two sizes too small. The doctor says that is normal and prescribed pain medication. I am now on a nebulizer four times daily. I am 80 and will have this for the rest of my life.

Comment from: jmd, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 28

I have had a total of five pneumothoraxes in both lungs and surgeries on both lungs. My last surgery was seven years ago. I've been able to live a healthy, active life. Lately, my left lung has been bugging me. I can't sleep on that side, I can "feel" it when I breathe lying down, and sometimes I have quite a bit of pain in that area (thought I know it's not collapsed). Also, my chest is always "popping" into place. Have any of you experienced these symptoms or heard of it happening? I am dragging my feet going to the doctor because I don't want another surgery.

Comment from: Cparrish, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 13

I pray that anyone with a history of pneumothorax is under the care of a specialist. My brother, 57, had a collapsed lung in October of 2002 and again in March 2003. He stopped smoking after the first incident but had to have surgery to bond the thinning tissue after the second collapse. In July of 2003, he started coughing violently, and by the time paramedics arrived got, it was too late. They were not able to get the tube down this blocked throat to incubate.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: dunesgrl1, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

This occurred with me when I was having a surgery for T.O.S (thoracic outlet syndrome). My surgeon bumped my lung with the rib bone he was taking out. After they repaired that, I had a tube out the side of my chest. It didn't bother me, until they took it out. That was extremely painful. For a month after, I would wake up in the night gasping for breath, unable to breathe. I don't know if it was my own fear of being unable to breathe or a symptom. It has been eight years, and I still only have 50% lung capacity. I have a lot of problems breathing. If I had been told to do breathing exercises immediately after, I think it may have helped more. I also now use an inhaler. If I don't I cough all the time. Doctors need to educate their patients on what to do after this has happened for a better outcome. Also we must ask more instead of assuming. I'm only 40 and really wish I could breathe normal again.

Comment from: Joshnd, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

I had my first spontaneous pneumothorax two years ago. It felt as if someone had stabbed a knife straight through the upper left side of my back. The doctor told me I'd have to have follow up appointments for five months and then do the surgery to fix it. I went to a conference and got prayed for, and the blood of Jesus fixed in five days what the doctors said would take five months. I went back to the doctor five days later, and he told me I didn't need to do any follow-up appointments. "The prayer offered in faith will make the sick man well."

Comment from: baxleytina, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I had a pneumothorax about four years ago. I'm doing OK, but I get chest pains often, and I have heavy breathing. I tire a lot and easily. My lung collapsed on its own, and I was in the hospital twice for it, within a few weeks of each other.

Comment from: takingiteasy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I experienced a spontaneous pneumothorax about 14 years ago. I had a sharp pain in my upper right chest and went to the ER to get it checked out. I was released but was called back to the hospital about half an hour later and immediately was put in a room and had a chest tube put in. I was told that my lung had collapsed 30%. I stayed at this hospital for about a week with a chest tube and drainage system until they realized it wasn't working. I was then sent to another hospital where I underwent surgery the next morning after being admitted. I was cut open under my right arm (where I have suffered extensive nerve damage), and they stapled my lung back together after it had torn. Another chest tube was inserted along the right side of my ribs. I remained in the hospital for another week where they had me do coughing exercises -- and they hurt! I have experienced the sensation like I've been punched in the chest and had the wind knocked out of me since this, but this hasn't resulted in any other pneumothorax issues.

Comment from: Rachal, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I was stabbed, and my lung collapsed. A chest tube was inserted. I have had major pain every night. This is the worst feeling in the world. If you are fighting to breathe, please don't take any chances: Go to the ER now!

Comment from: Corey, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 13

I have had two experiences with pneumothorax, both left and right lungs about one year apart. It was the worst pain ever. I first had chest pain, so I went to the doctor. They did not see the pneumothorax, so they sent me home. Then I fell down at home, and I was in extreme pain, so I went to the heart doctor. He said everything was OK. Still, I knew something was not right, so I went and got an X-ray, which showed that my lung had completely collapsed. I had surgery for it, and then it was OK. However, a year later, it happens in the other one. That's just my luck! I never smoked or anything. So, my advice is that if you have sharp chest pains, go to the ER. It's worth knowing because they said if I had waited any longer, I could have lost a lung.

Comment from: Kitty, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

I have had spontaneous pneumothorax many times since I was 17. I was diagnosed again today with less than 10% collapse. My worst collapse was 30% about 10 years ago. This has happened in both lungs but mostly the right side. I know the symptoms, and if I have any type of ache in my upper back, I try to relax and stay calm until I feel better. This works most of the time, but last night was very sudden with no warning. My 18-year-old son has also complained about aching in his back. He has had chest X-rays but with negative results.

Comment from: Brandy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I just got released from a five-day stay in the hospital after having a spontaneous pneumothorax. I am 10 weeks pregnant and had to stay awake while they inserted the chest tube. I was in much pain when I went into the ER. I had chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in my back. I still have the pneumothorax though.

Understanding COPD
Comment from: chico33, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: November 29

On Dec. 27, last year, I had a mild pain in my left shoulder that increased to an unbearable pain that spread to my chest, down my left arm, and my left arm went numb. I thought I was having a heart attack, so I went to the hospital. They took X-rays and tests that showed I was not having a heart attack, so they sent me home. I went to work on Monday, slugging 12,000-pound skids around and carrying 50-pound boxes up and down stairs. It was a long and painful day. So I missed work for the next two days and went to the walk-in clinic on the third day. The doctor sent me to the hospital across the road where I was refused to be seen and asked to leave. I was mad and went back to the walk-in where I was also refused to be seen because they changed doctors. The new doctor wouldn't get paid to see me. The next day, I was finally able to make a doctor's appointment with my family doctor where they took X-rays, and I went home where the doctor's office called me and told me I had a collapsed lung. They said I had to go to the hospital and have a tube put in. When I went back to the hospital, they admitted me in five minutes and the doctor was there in 10 minutes.

Comment from: gwr, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 30

I was diagnosed with my first spontaneous pneumothorax in January 2008 when I was 45 but did not require a chest tube. I have had similar symptoms at least once before but did not seek medical treatment thinking it was muscular back pain due to intense pain under my right shoulder blade. I just had my second diagnosis of a spontaneous pneumothorax in October 2008. Not sure whether this one will resolve on its own. I have a shifting sensation like something is clunking around inside my chest and sometimes a gurgling when bending over.

Comment from: Mia, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I have experienced back pain with my pneumothorax. The first time I went into the hospital (6 weeks ago), my lung was down 60%. I had a chest tube for 4 days which did help re-inflate the lung. I had another chest x-ray done yesterday after experiencing the familiar back pain and my lung is down 15%. My doctor is now going to refer me to a lung specialist to discuss options.

Comment from: zappymom, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 16

As a parent with an active, athletic son with repeat spontaneous pneumothorax, be careful with depression. My son is trying so hard to carry on with his life, and it is interrupted and opportunities are lost due to this experience. He had to move back home, lose credits at college, and experience a loss of scholarships. I am sick, and I don't know how to help him anymore. I also see the difficulty of getting health insurance once he turns 23. Our insurance covers him until he is 23 and still in college. He is hurting, and he is on the verge of allowing it to destroy his life.

Comment from: Arlene, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 30

I had a pneumothorax in both lungs after lung reduction surgery. Even with tubes in the chest, I still had air leaks. After I was released from the hospital with one tube left in my chest, the air leaks did not heal for 45 days.

Comment from: ricky, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 03

When I developed a collapsed left lung, there were no significant symptoms except shortness of breath. When I went to visit the doctor, he referred me for a chest X-ray. Upon discovering my left lung collapsed, I was immediately admitted into the ward. The keyhole operation was done with plastic tubes inserted inside.

Understanding COPD
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