Patient Comments: Pneumothorax - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your pneumothorax?

Comment from: linda, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: May 10

I am 15 years old. It happened in class, and I thought I somehow pulled a back muscle. The pain radiated from one spot, through my entire upper back, to my arms and my chest. It was so hard to breathe. I went to a family doctor first, where they said nothing was wrong. Three hours later, the pain continued and I ended up at the hospital, where they again said nothing was wrong with me. Until I received an X-ray. Surprisingly, the chest tube didn't hurt much, but every time they go off suction it collapses again, even after a staple.

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Comment from: DaeWonder, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I experienced my first pneumothorax about 13 years ago. For three years I experienced a pneumothorax almost monthly � always on the right side. I was diagnosed with catamenial pneumothorax, meaning my lung collapses are the result of endometrial tissue on my lung. I had pleurodesis surgery 10 years ago to "stick" my lung to my chest wall through an abrasion technique. Since the surgery, I've had smaller lung collapses in the 10-15% range. This month I had another pneumothorax of 40%, requiring a chest tube and hospital stay.

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Comment from: dgweh, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 08

I've had two pneumothorax episodes in my earlier life. My right lung collapsed when I was 14; my left lung collapsed six years later. The symptoms were the same for both � extreme lower back pain and difficulty breathing. Instead of having a chest tube and worrying about whether my lungs would collapse again, I chose to have surgery both times to fix it for good. It's been 30 years since the last surgery, and I have had no problems at all (knock on wood).

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Comment from: myngskmk, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had my lung collapsed twice. Once in 2008 and now in 2012. Both times this happened I was over worked and stressed out at my job. Both times it was at the peak of the holiday season and I had a huge increase in my physical and stress work load. I was in the middle of working when my lung, the same lung collapsed during strenuous lifting when I was already fatigued from work overload. The second lung collapsed resulted in the doctor removing a section of my lung and applying a chemical adhesive so my lung would bond with the inside of my chest cavity. Trust me, when you wake up from this surgery with a one inch tube sticking out of your rib cage, you are in a lot of pain. I was on a morphine pump for days. My advice is that there is no job worth this kind of pain so be careful how much you exert yourself at work when you are stressed and worn out.

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Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 17

My first spontaneous pneumothorax was on my right side in 2006. It collapsed twice. After that I continued to smoke and just recently my left lung collapsed. I'm 6'6, and 180 lbs so I fit the description not to mention that i was still smoking. I had two different types of surgery. The most recent one was on my left side where the surgeon scraped the outer wall of my lung so it would stick, and she also took air bubbles out. I stayed in the hospital for a week with a chest tube.

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Comment from: Instyle, 25-34 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 20

My son had a spontaneous pneumothorax experience while on his job. He is tall, thin, a non-smoker, does not drink, no drugs, and is athletic. Only 10 percent of his right lung had collapsed, but the pain was terrible for him. He had pain, shortness of breath, with symptoms similar to a heart attack. We did go to the hospital and after four chest X-rays, a 36 hour stay in the hospital, and an oxygen treatment (no tube needed), he was allowed to go home, with the idea that the lung would repair on its own since it was such a small percentage. He is taking it slowly, but does not want to stop his normal workout activities. So we will see, but any symptoms this extensive, don't risk it and go to the hospital right away.

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Comment from: JustJess, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

I'm a 23 year old woman and the scariest thing about having a pneumothorax for me was that there was not one symptom that made me feel any urgency to go check it out. I had a bad cough for more than two weeks, and I woke up one morning with minor chest and back pain and thought maybe it was time to get some antibiotics to help get rid of this cold or bronchitis or whatever it was... So I went to the clinic and, after seeing the 90% collapsed lung on the X-rays, they called me an ambulance. I could not believe it... I kept saying that I really don't feel that bad! I got the drain installed in emergency (while awake.. not fun) and 5 days later went through the bullectomy/pleurectomy in my left lung because it was too weak and would not reinflate. My right lung collapsed because of the surgery so I had to go back 2 weeks later to get it on the right lung. Now, almost a year later, I feel almost as if nothing ever happened. I had a great surgeon. One thing I want to mention is that during the year before all this, I went to see my doctor three times for back/chest pain. I also mentioned feeling a weird popping and bubble sounds in my chest when lying down, and it was dismissed as anxiety and muscle pain.

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Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.
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