|Rib Fractures With Pneumothorax|
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- Spontaneous pneumothorax occurs most often in tall, thin men who are between the ages of 20-40
- Having a family history of pneumothorax
- Having other lung diseases such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, or pertussis
- Suffering a trauma injury to the chest
- Infants who require ventilator assistance are at a higher risk of developing tension pneumothorax
- More men than women experience pneumothorax
- Sudden, sharp pain in the chest that becomes worse during coughing or taking deep breaths
- Acute shortness of breath
- Fever (mild)
- Tightness in the chest
- Rapid heartbeat
- Bluish color of the skin due to a lack of oxygen
- Flaring of the nostrils
- Feelings of anxiety , stress, and tension
- Hypotension, or low blood pressure
- A distended abdomen
- Chest x-ray —may be performed to determine if there is air outside the lung.
- CT scan —may be performed instead.
- Ultrasound —an alternative option for those who can’t be moved, commonly used in trauma cases.
- EKG—reads electrical activity in the heart.
- Pulse oximetry—noninvasive way to measure your oxygen status.
Chest Tube Insertion
- In this procedure, the doctor will insert a small tube between the ribs into the pleural cavity where the pneumothorax is located. Before the procedure, you may receive sedation, your doctor will then numb the area where the tube is to be inserted using local anesthesia. Next, he or she will make an incision, insert the tube, and connect it to a bottle or canister that contains sterile liquid. A suction mechanism is also attached to encourage drainage. The tube is held in place by a suture or a piece of surgical tape.
- The chest tube will remain in place until x-rays show that the air or gas has drained from the pleural space and the lung is once again fully expanded. This can take several days. No further medication is necessary, although sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to ward off possible infection from the tube.
- Not smoking.
- Wearing a seatbelt when in a motor vehicle to help prevent accident-related chest trauma.
- Being aware of the symptoms associated with pneumothorax if you have another lung disease.
- If you have a history of pneumothorax, it is often recommended that you avoid SCUBA diving.
American College of Chest Physicians http://www.chestnet.org
American Thoracic Society http://thoracic.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html
The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Baumann MH. Management of spontaneous pneumothorax. Clin Chest Med . 2006; 27:369-81.
Currie GP, Alluri R, Christie GL, Legge JS: Pneumothorax: an update. Postgrad Med J . 2007;83:461-5.
Leigh-Smith S, Harris T. Tension pneumothorax-time for a re-think? Emerg Med J . 2005;22: 8-16.
Light RW. Disorders of the pleura, mediastinum, diaphragm, and chest wall. in: Kasper DL et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005:1568.
Pneumothorax. The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Second Home Edition online. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec04/ch052/ch052d.html . Accessed November 9, 2005.
Sahn S, Hefner JE. Spontaneous pneumothorax. N Engl J Med . 2000;342:868-73.
Tschopp JM, Rami-Porta R, Noppen M, Astoul P: Management of spontaneous pneumothroax: state of the art. Eur Respir J . 2006;28:637-50.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/31/2013 -