How is a pneumothorax diagnosed?

Exam and X-ray. . Pneumothorax is first and foremost diagnosed clinically based on symptoms (shortness of breath, increased breathing, oxygen requirement) and by listening to the chest (decreased breath sounds). It should be confirmed by chest x-ray. If a small pneumothorax is present, physical exam is less reliable and a chest x-ray should be done.
Short of breath. Sudden onset of chest pain with shortness of breath is a common symptom. A cxr will confirm it. Pneumothorax / ptx can be spontaneous or traumatic in origin. Significant chest trauma (blunt or sharp) with rib fractures are commonly associated with ptx. Certain body type, connective tissue disorder and lung disease such as emphysema are associated with ptx - at time spontaneous without trauma.