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Collapsed Lung (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

A doctor should be seen after any symptoms of chest pain are experienced, because of the possibility of other equally or more serious causes of chest pain.

  • After blunt trauma to the chest, such as a fall on the ribs, a doctor should be seen if you have any shortness of breath or pain associated with breathing.
  • If blood is coughed up (called hemoptysis) after chest trauma or rib injury, this can be a sign of a more serious condition and should be treated by a doctor.

Call 911 for emergency medical services if there is any significant chest pain or severe shortness of breath.

  • Penetrating trauma to the chest can fracture ribs or directly cause a collapsed lung. The penetrating trauma may be caused by any of the following:
    • Stab wound from a sharp object
    • Gunshot wound
    • Blunt trauma that breaks a rib that punctures into the lung space.
  • Any collapsed lung can rapidly deteriorate into the immediately life-threatening tension pneumothorax.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/3/2014

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