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pneumothorax (pneumo- + thorax; plural pneumothoraces) is an abnormal collection of air or gas in the pleural space that causes an uncoupling of the lung from the chest wall.

Like pleural effusion (liquid build-up in that space), pneumothorax may interfere with normal breathing. It is often called collapsed lung, although that term may also refer to atelectasis.

Pneumothorax can sometimes occur when air or fluids escape from the lungs, sometimes due to a perforated lung or a stabbing wound to the chest. The air or fluid then fills the space outside of the lungs, between the lung and chest wall. This build-up of air or fluid puts pressure on the outside of the lungs, so that the lungs cannot expand as much as when you normally do take a breath.

Collapsed lung or pneumothorax can be caused by an injury to the lung, including gunshot or knife wounds to the chest, rib fracture, or certain medical procedures. In some cases, a collapsed lung is caused by air blisters (blebs) that break open, sending air and/or fluids like blood into the space around the lungs. This can result from air pressure changes such as when scuba diving or travelling to a high altitude.

The pressure and pain may keep you from wanting to take deep breaths. As a result, part of your lungs may collapse or not inflate correctly.

Treatment of Pneumothorax

A small pneumothorax may go away on its own. You may only need oxygen treatment and rest. The health care provider may use a needle to pull the extra air or fluid out from around the lung so it can expand more fully. A large pneumothorax may require a chest tube to be placed between the ribs into the space around the lungs to help drain the air and/or fluid, allowing the lung to re-expand properly. Depending on the severity, the chest tube may be left in place for several days to allow for any fluid or air to escape, rather than building up over time. Some patients with a collapsed lung need extra oxygen.

Lung surgery may be needed to treat collapsed lung or to prevent future episodes. The area where the leak occurred may be repaired. Sometimes, a special chemical is placed into the area of the collapsed lung. This chemical causes a scar to form. This procedure is called pleurodesis.

Why Shouldn’t You Use AirPhysio for Pneumothorax?

If the case of pneumothorax, because the condition is usually due to damaged lung tissue, any vibration of the lungs has the potential to create further injury, causing more air or fluid to escape into the cavity between the lung and chest wall.

Consult with your doctor, but once the pneumothorax has been treated and has a chest tube installed, you may be able to use the AirPhysio device then.

For more information about pneumothoraxplease refer to the following web pages and articles:

Collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
Primary spontaneous pneumothorax

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