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(no͞omōthôr`ăks), collapse of a lung with escape of air into the pleural cavity between the lung and the chest wall. The cause may be traumatic (e.g., gunshot or stab wound), spontaneous (rupture due to disease or localized weakness of the lung lining), or environmental (extreme change in atmospheric pressure). The only symptom may be a sudden pain in the chest. Physical and radiological examination reveals characteristic signs of lung collapse. Simple pneumothorax of only one lung generally requires only rest; the break in the pleura usually heals quickly after collapse of the lung has taken place. In tension pneumothorax (where there is high intrapleural pressure), or if both lungs are collapsed, it is mandatory to remove the air from the pleural cavity immediately. An artificial pneumothorax is one deliberately induced, as in the treatment of tuberculosis of the lung before modern drugs became available, or in the diagnosis of lung disease.



a condition characterized by the accumulation of air or gas in the pleural cavity. Three types are distinguished according to origin: traumatic, spontaneous, and artificial.

Traumatic pneumothorax arises as a result of both open chest wounds, such as knife or gunshot wounds, and closed injuries, with no breaking of the skin; either type of injury is accompanied by rupture of a lung. In an open pneumothorax constant communication is maintained between the pleural cavity and air outside the body. Spontaneous pneumothorax arises as a result of sudden impairment of lung tissue, as with pulmonary emphysema or rupture of congenital pulmonary cysts. In some cases, there may be a flap of lung tissue covering the site of the rupture; this flap functions as a valve to prevent air from returning to the bronchus during exhalation. Such a valvular pneumothorax is accompanied by complete collapse of the lung, which then loses respiratory function, and by displacement of the heart, folding of major blood vessels, and circulatory disturbances.

The main symptoms of pneumothorax are pain in the chest and dyspnea. Auscultation reveals weak or absent respiration on the affected side. Air may also accumulate in the subcutaneous tissue of the chest, neck, face, or mediastinum with characteristic distention and crackling sensation upon palpation; these conditions are called subcutaneous emphysema and mediastinal emphysema. Complications of pneumothorax include pleurisy and hemopneumothorax, which results from the entry of blood into the pleural cavity. First aid for open pneumothorax requires prompt application of a bandage to cover the wound. In valvular pneumothorax the pleural cavity must be punctured and the air removed to prevent the lung from collapsing and the heart from shifting.

Artificial pneumothorax, the intentional introduction of air into the pleural cavity to compress the lung, was proposed by the Italian physician C. Forlanini in 1882. It is now used in the treatment of cavernous forms of pulmonary tuberculosis.


Spontannyi (patologicheskii) pnevmotoraks. Moscow, 1973.



The presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity.
References in periodicals archive ?
During a complex operation, surgeons took muscle from Joe's chest to repair his collapsed lung.
I suffered a collapsed lung injury, which is basically the same as you would see in a car accident,' he said.
He said: "I really jarred my shoulders, cracked some ribs, then had a collapsed lung and pancreas issues.
One man was left with a collapsed lung and fell to the ground outside the Square Peg pub.
I don't know exactly what injuries she has suffered, there is some rib damage and maybe a collapsed lung, but she's going to be okay, which is the important thing.
POLICE have appealed for information after a Kidderminster man suffered a collapsed lung after being brutally punched and kicked in an attack by three men.
He spent five days in hospital after suffering a collapsed lung, and needed a blood transfusion.
The woman suffered a ruptured spleen, broken ribs, collapsed lung and the driver sustained head injuries.
The team was already struggling in the World Cup regattas after changes of crew members before suffering a further blow when Alex Partridge was ruled out by a collapsed lung in June.
Victim Davinder Sahota suffered a collapsed lung as a result of the 'wholly unprovoked attack' at the Arca Bar in the Arcadian Centre in September last year.
Police said the victim was held down and "ferociously kicked", suffering severe bruising and a collapsed lung.
Dee Atkinson of Napiers Herbalists gives the alternative solution A SPONTANEOUS collapsed lung usually happens to tall, thin young men, often between ages of 20 and 40, and is more likely if they are smokers.