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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 ?
For pneumothoraces it was ensured that there was no demonstrable air leak even on forceful coughing, which combined with less than 6 cm excursion of chest tube column and clinical and radiologically expanded lung, provided safety of tube removal.
For example, nodular pleural thickening is an infrequent occurrence in tuberculosis and catamenial pneumothoraces.
1) Onethird of HIV-related pneumothoraces are bilateral, hastening mortality.
Pneumothoraces characterized by gas freely entering and leaving the pleural space during breathing are also called open pneumothoraces.
Although some authors suggest that ruptured preexisting bullae are the causes of all spontaneous pneumothoraces, others consider recurrences after bullectomy as evidence that ruptured bullae are not always the site of an air leak.
There are many variables affecting the prevalence of pneumothoraces from lung FNABs which have not been explored in this study.
All 12 patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), where 10 were mechanically ventilated; none developed pneumothoraces.
Colon perforation, bilateral, pneumothoraces, pneumopericardium, pneumomediastinum and subcutaneous emphysema complicating colonoscopic polypectomy: anatomic and management consideration.
Table 1 Contraindications to VHI or MHI Conditions Acute pulmonary oedemas Severe bronchospasm Haemoptysis Documented cystic lung changes (bullae or blebs) Subcutaneous emphysema Undrained pneumothoraces or intercostal catheter with air leak Obstructing airway tumour or lung tumour Bronchopleural fistula Patients requiring nitric oxide or prostaglandins infusions Coagulopathic conditions Physiological parameters Respiratory PEEP (>10 cm[H.
TCCC is focused on causes of preventable death on the battlefield and has a greater emphasis on tourniquets (combat application tourniquets), hemostatic dressings (Combat Gauze, Combat Medical Systems, Fayetteville, NC), needle decompression of tension pneumothoraces, and surgical airways.
In addition, patient 8 experienced bilateral spontaneous pneumothoraces 3 weeks after the onset of fever, dyspnea, and nonproductive cough.
Ultrasonography has also been found to be more sensitive than supine plain chest radiography and as sensitive as CT for the detection of traumatic pneumothoraces (Rowan et al 2002).