- Primary spontaneous pneumothorax—No known cause, but genetics may play a role.
- Secondary spontaneous pneumothorax—Caused by air leaks from damaged lung tissue. Tissue is often weakened from lung disease, injury, or mechanical ventilation.
- Tension pneumothorax—Caused by trauma to the lungs and/or chest cavity (ribs and muscles). This is the most serious type because the collapse is more rapid and involves a larger amount of lung. It may affect the heart's ability to pump blood.
- Catamenial pneumothorax (women only)—caused by small holes in the diaphragm muscle. Occurs within 72 hours of start or end of menstrual cycle and most often associated with endometriosis.
|Rib Fractures With Pneumothorax|
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- Lung diseases such as:
- Connective tissue diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma
- Penetrating or blunt force trauma to the chest
- Having a medical or surgical procedure
- Mechanical ventilation
- Sudden, sharp pain in the chest that becomes worse during coughing or taking deep breaths
- Acute shortness of breath
- Mild fever
- 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
- Removal of weak spots in the lungs that are allowing air to leak out of the lungs
- Closing the space between the lung and chest wall—called pleural abrasion or pleurodesis
- Removing part or all of the lining that adheres to the chest wall—pleurectomy
- Removing any lung lesions
- Wear a seatbelt when in a motor vehicle to help prevent accident-related chest trauma.
- Stop smoking.
- 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
The Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Baumann MH. Management of spontaneous pneumothorax. Clin Chest Med. 2006; 27:369-81.
Catamenial Pnuemothorax. National Organization for Rare Disorders website. Available at: http://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/1227/printFullReport. Updated February 14 2012. Accessed August 7, 2015.
Currie GP, Alluri R, Christie GL, Legge JS: Pneumothorax: an update. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83:461-5.
Explore pleurisy and other pleural disorders. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pleurisy. Updated September 21, 2011. Accessed September 17, 2015.
Leigh-Smith S, Harris T. Tension pneumothorax-time for a re-think? Emerg Med J. 2005;22: 8-16.
Sahn S, Hefner JE. Spontaneous pneumothorax. N Engl J Med. 2000;342:868-73.
Spontaneous pneumothorax in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 12, 2014. Accessed August 7, 2015.
Spontaneous pneumothorax in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 23, 2015. Accessed August 7, 2015.
Tension pneumothorax. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 12, 2015. Accessed August 7, 2015.
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: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2015 -
- Update Date: 08/07/2015 -