Doctor insights on:
Can You Die From A Collapsed Lung
Tension pneumothorax: You can die from collapsed lung, as it progresses quickly to a tension pneumothorax. Eventually, the pressure will collapse your other lung and vessels. Untreated, death will occur. First responders, emt and trauma providers are trained to recognize and release the pressure associated with a collapsed lung, to prevent tension pneumothorax. ...Read more
Deoxygenated blood enters the lungs from the right side of the heart and travels to the lungs. When you inspire, oxygen flows into the lungs, transverses the capilliares and attaches to hemoglobin down a gradient. At the same time, co2 diffuses into the capilaries and is expelled with exhalation. Oxygen rich blood then flows to the left side of the heart and into the ...Read more
Great Question: And I have a better answer: unlike the american bison, most mammals have two separate pleural or lung cavities. If one lung collapses, the problem does not usually affect the other side. This is why bison were easy to hunt. If you hit one side of the chest, both lungs could collapse. The picture shows human anatomy, wish I could also post a bison picture as they are majestic creatures. ...Read more
Can one have small collapsed lung with few symptoms. Could this spontaneous collapse be deadly? Some studies say that progression to tension is rare.
Yes....: A collapsed lung, or pneumothorax, occurs when air leaks into the space surrounding the lung, between the lung and chest wall. If enough air acummulates in this space, there can be enough pressure to push vital structures, including the heart, to the opposite side of the chest. This tension pneumothorax can lead to cardiac arrest which can result in death if not immediately treated/resuscitated. ...Read more
Yes: If the pneumothorax creates enough pressure, it can compress the right side of the heart. This decreases the blood return to the heart. Without adequate blood return, your heart does not have enough blood to pump out to your body. This can be rapidly fatal. ...Read more
Patience: Chest tube drainage/evacuation will often resolve pressure imbalance instantly. The hole in the lung from trauma or spontaneous collapse can potentially seal in just a few days (like a scab). The lung tissue takes longer to fully heal, depending on type of injury. If from trauma, associated chest wall injury (rib fractures, etc...) as well as chest tube site may take weeks to months to heal. ...Read more
Bad: Pneumothorax, hemothorax, chylothorax, hydropneumothorax and atelectasis all emcompass conditions where a lung is "collapsed." in atelectasis, the lung is not aerated because alveoli are not expanded. This is usually an issue internal to the airways. The rmainder are due to something outside the actual lung parenchyma - compressing the lung. All are bad, so talk to your doc. ...Read more
Need more info: "collapsed" lung is a term that can mean several different things. Collapsed lung can mean a pneumothorax which is treated with a chest tube, or a collapsed lung can mean an obstructed bronchus which is treated, when possible, by removing the obstruction. ...Read more
Multiple: External and internal. External causes are trauma, diagnostic procedures, etc. Internal factors deal with an increase in pressure in the lung, causing rupture of a pre- existing issue (pulmonary bleb). Pressure increases can be a cough, sneeze, or being on a ventilator. Air leaves the lung or enters the chest through a defect, causing collapse of the lung. ...Read more
Discuss MD: Until surgical evaluation and/or treatment, refrain from flying and scuba. With guidance/instructions from your surgeon, it is generally safe to travel by commercial airline after your pneumothorax is fully resolved (~4weeks). If your lung is currently "collapsed", i.e. Your pneumothorax has not resolved, you should refrain from air travel, skydiving, high altitude travel, and scuba diving. ...Read more
Negative pressure: You can die from collapsed lung, as it progresses quickly to a tension pneumothorax. First responders, emt and trauma providers are trained to recognize and release the pressure associated with a collapsed lung, to prevent tension pneumothorax. A chest tube is inserted into the space between your lung and chest wall. The tube is put to negative pressure, so lung can re-expand. ...Read more
Maybe not: Estimated at least 10% spontaneous pneumothorax are asymptomatic. Symptoms if present may include shortness of breath, cough, and/or chest pain. The first line of diagnosis for large pneumothorax is a good history and physical examination (stethoscope). Most smaller pneumothoraces can be diagnosed with good 2 view chest x-ray series. Occasionally, a ct-scan may be necessary. ...Read more
Breathing pain: Though mechanisms of injury play a role here, both traumatic and spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung) will lead to shortness of breath and chest pain. If left untreated, some may lead to tension pneumothorax which may be deadly. If you see the patient turning pale and taking shallow, frequent, gasping breaths - there is not a minute to waste. ...Read more
Chest tube: Typically, the first line of treatment for a collapsed lung is to insert a chest tube, which is a tube that is placed between the ribs and outside of the lung, in order to allow the lung to re-expand. If the lung is only partially collapsed, sometimes this is not necessary. Occasionally, surgery will be required to treat the problem. ...Read more
Yes: A healthy normal person with no particular risk factors, can get a spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung). If the amount of air that leaked out was small, and the leak had sealed itself off, the doctor may decide to observe the patient and let the leaked air get reabsorbed by the body. ...Read more
Lung collapse: A collapsed lung can be spontaneous and associated with a variety of diseases (emphysema for example or alpha-1- antitrypsin deficiency) or traumatic. Various conditions can result in which if untreated the lung may remain collapsed or produce a tension pneumothorax demanding emergent treatment. ...Read more
Collapsed lung: A collapsed along can be a medical emergency. Typically the attempt is to expand the long using a chest tube. This is usually done in intensive care setting. With proper care it can easily be really expanded and sealed. There is a risk, however of reoccurrence ...Read more
Absolutely: The hole in the lung from trauma or spontaneous collapse can potentially seal in just a few days (like a scab). The lung tissue takes longer to fully heal, depending on type and extent of initial injury. If from trauma, associated chest wall injury (rib fractures, etc...) as well as chest tube site may take weeks to months to heal. ...Read more
Could be risky: It depends on the type of "collapsed lung" that you have. But, when flying, there are definite pressure changes that can affect a collapsed lung. So, I would make sure it is ok with your doctor. ...Read more
Examination: Estimated at least 10% spontaneous pneumothorax are asymptomatic. The first line of diagnosis for large pneumothorax is a good history and physical examination (stethoscope). Most smaller pneumothoraces can be diagnosed with good 2 view chest x-ray series. Occasionally, a ct-scan may be necessary. ...Read more
Examination: Estimated at least 10% spontaneous pneumothorax are asymptomatic. Symptoms if present may include shortness off breath, cough, and/or chest pain. The first line of diagnosis for large pneumothorax is a good history and physical examination (stethoscope). Most smaller pneumothoraces can be diagnosed with good 2 view chest x-ray series. Occasionally, a ct-scan may be necessary. ...Read more
Doctor's exam, Xray: Symptoms of pneumothorax (collapsed lung) include sharp chest pains (especially with breathing), a dry cough, and shortness of breath. If the leaked air is compressing the lungs and heart, it is a tension pneumothorax (life-threatening!) and symptoms include a very anxious looking person with trouble breathing or talking, swollen veins in the neck, & bluish skin color (cyanosis). Confirm by x-ray. ...Read more
Negative pressure: A collapsed/punctured lung is serious, as it progresses quickly to a tension pneumothorax. Once recognized, a chest tube is placed to release the pressure associated with collapsed lung. The tube is put to negative pressure, so lung can re-expand. Recovery depends on the size and rate of healing of the injury to your lung. So a small injury should heal in days, larger injury will take longer. ...Read more
Yes it can: A spontaneous pneumothorax, collapsed lung, is caused by a small bubble, bleb, that developed in the lung and has popped thereby leaking air. It is similar to a balloon popping. The first line of treatment is to place a chest tube in the chest cavity to remove the air. If the leak in the lung seals the tube can be removed. There is approximately a 50% chance it could recur again. ...Read more
Varies with severity: Significance can vary with the extent of the collapse. If a large portion of the lung is collapsed then a patient will have difficulty breathing, which can be mild to severe, with respiratory failure and death as the extremes. Most often the collapse is limited and partial, often reversible with no intervention. Many things can cause collapse, so more information is needed from your doctor. ...Read more
Depends: As noted, one time exposure to heavy smoke is not likely to result in pneumothorax. The risk factors for primary and secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (sp) include: smoking (including marijuana), tall thin stature in otherwise healthy, connective tissue disorders, pregnancy, familial history. Lung inflammation is hypothesized to play an important role in the lung injury process that predispose. ...Read more
Speak with physician: As noted, air trapped outside your lung but inside your chest can expand with increasing altitude. This can potentially be rapidly fatal. Your thoracic surgeon should provide guidance to safe and appropriate activities. ...Read more
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