Needle Decompression. Tension pneumothorax is one of the few medical emergencies where a life can be saved or lost in a matter of minutes if not recognized early. While diagnosis can be difficult, treatment is a simple, rapid needle decompression of the pleural space by inserting a large bore angiocatheter just above the 3rd rib. With the patient stabilized a larger chest tube is placed until the pneumothorax resolves.
EMERGENCY chest tube. A tension pneumothorax is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate treatment to prevent death. This is caused by chest trauma leading to collapse of the lung. If left untreated, the pressure in the chest cavity causes compression of the veins returning blood to the heart, leading to cardiovascular collapse and death. This is easily treated by placing a chest tube.