What are the causes of pneumothorax?
Spontaneous pneumothorax - means that the pneumothorax develops for
no apparent reason. This typically occurs in young, thin adults who
do not have any lung disease. Men are affected 4 times more often
than women. It is thought to be due to a tiny tear (rupture) of an
outer part of the lung - usually near the top of the lung. It is not
clear why this occurs. Air then escapes from the lung but gets
trapped between the lung and the chest wall. About 1 in 10 people
who have a spontaneous pneumothorax have one or more recurrences
sometime in the future, usually on the same side.
to the chest such as from a road traffic accident or a stab wound to
diseases - pneumothorax is an uncommon complication of some lung
diseases such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, etc
pressure of the air that leaks out of the lung and the air inside
the lung equalises in most cases of spontaneous pneumothorax. The
amount of air that leaks (the size of the pneumothorax) varies.
Often it is quite small and the lung collapses a little. Sometimes
it can be large and the whole lung collapses. If you are otherwise
fit and well, this is not too serious as the other lung can cope
until the pneumothorax goes. If you have a lung disease, a
pneumothorax may make any existing breathing difficulty much worse.
small tear or 'rupture' that caused the leak usually heals within a
few days. Air then stops leaking in and out of the lung. The trapped
air of the pneumothorax is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream.
The lung then gradually expands back to its original size.
pneumothorax - is a rare complication. This causes shortness of
breath that quickly becomes more and more severe. This occurs when
the 'tear' on the lung acts like a one way valve. In effect, each
breath in (inspiration) 'pumps' more air out of the lung, but the
valve action stops air coming back into the lung to equal the air
pressure. The volume and pressure of the pneumothorax increases.
This puts pressure on the lungs and heart. Emergency treatment is
needed to release the trapped air.