Font Size

Collapsed Lung (cont.)

Collapsed Lung Causes

The primary cause of a pneumothorax is trauma to the chest cavity. A fractured rib, for example, could puncture the lung. In addition, penetrating trauma from a bullet, knife, or other sharp object can directly puncture the lung.

Sometimes, very tall, thin people are prone to a spontaneous pneumothorax. In this condition, the lung collapses after minimal or no trauma. Other risk factors are cigarette smoking and recreational drug use or abuse.

Spontaneous pneumothorax

  • This refers to a condition in which the lung collapses with no apparent injury or trauma.
  • Abnormal, small, air-filled sacs in the lung called "blebs" typically rupture and leak air into the pleural space, leading to the spontaneous pneumothorax. This happens in the cases of tall and thin people, who because of the shape of their lungs and chest cavity, are seemingly more prone to these defects.
  • Shortness of breath and sharp, stabbing chest pain develops in apparently healthy people.
  • Cigarette smokers are at greater risk for spontaneous pneumothorax.
  • Recreational drug users who inhale deeply and forcefully are also at greater risk.

Traumatic pneumothorax

  • Direct trauma to the chest wall from either blunt or penetrating trauma causes this condition.
  • Trauma can also result from diagnostic or therapeutic medical procedures, such as needle aspiration of fluid from the pleural space, a lung biopsy, or insertion of a large IV catheter into a vein near the neck.

Disease-related pneumothorax can occur due to abnormalities in the lung tissue.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Collapsed Lung

Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is performed to view the inside of a person's airway and lungs. There are two types of bronchoscopy, 1) rigid bronchoscopy and 2) flexible bronchos...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax):

Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.

Pneumothorax - Causes

What was the cause of your pneumothorax?

Collapsed Lung - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your collapsed lung?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pneumothorax »

Pneumothorax is defined as the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary