Viewer Comments: Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax):

Pneumothorax - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with pneumothorax.

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Comment from: Brian, Male (Patient) Published: June 11

As a teen I had both of my lungs collapse several times spontaneously. Sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between muscular pain in my chest and a pneumothorax. The test I developed to tell if I had a collapsed lung was to lean forward at the waist. If my lung was collapsed, I could feel the air bubble between the lung and the top of the chest cavity move as I bend over and straightened up again. Eventually I ended getting the thin parts of both lungs stapled to seal them off, then no more problems after that.

Comment from: Alice B., RN (ER), 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I was born with left lung defects secondary to my pop's exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. My lung collapsed due to a ruptured empyemic cyst. I wound up with tension pneumothorax with mediastinal shift. Two thoracotomy surgeries later, the entire left lung is gone (all at age 9). I went on to develop heart failure (age 34) due to my system being strained for so long. I am now 42 years old and managing ok! I still have significant left sided pain due to the formation of all the scar tissue. It frequently aches and movement on that left side is somewhat limited, but that hasn't stopped me from practicing my yoga! But you just have to keep going and do what you can! In my eyes, we are all warriors!

Comment from: Honey, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

It is the doctor's guess that my pneumothorax occurred during a 3.5 hour overseas flight. As we were staying with friends and didn't want to spoil the holiday, I didn't say anything about (or do anything about) the symptoms which were breathlessness during any exertion, pain in the shoulder and ribs and the frightening fact that, if I lay on my right side, I could not breathe at all. I also had a pain in my head unlike a normal dull headache. After 12 days of this, we made the return flight. I am told that it is a miracle that I survived it. Fourteen days after the first flight and onset of symptoms, I had an x-ray and was rushed to the emergency ward where a tube was inserted. It was removed 4 days later, which was 6 days ago. The pneumothorax has slowly decreased but has not disappeared to date. I have been told to take it easy for a month which I guess is the expected recovery time. I am not allowed to fly for 6 weeks and will never be able to scuba-dive, sky-dive or be a pilot, which, as a 63 year old female, I can live with!

Comment from: Bobbyr, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

I had a pneumothorax about 12 years ago resulting from a slip on wet grass. I injured my right rib cage. Ten hours later, I rushed to the emergency room, believing I had had a heart attack, only to find out my right lung had collapsed. After numerous and persistent lung collapses while having a tube attached and removed, doctors determined that I had 25% damage. It was suggested that, although I had stopped smoking 16 years earlier, my lungs had already been destroyed by the time I stopped smoking. After 18 days in the hospital, surgery removed one quarter of my right lung as well a fist-size embolism in the middle of my right lung. Today, I suffer from recurring pains in my right side, probably from the large amount of scar tissue I developed. My only complaint is that the pain will never go away completely. I can tell you that I work out five days a week on free weights and have been doing so three months after my surgery without a recurrence. My complaint is that the pain to my right side still persists. When I ask doctors about it, they don't have a clue.

Comment from: KC, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I am still recovering from a spontaneous pneumothorax. I was home for six days with a tube in my chest, which was not fun. After that did not work, I went in for surgery where they removed a part of my lung and scuffed up my chest wall to re-stick the lung to the wall. Apparently, spontaneous pneumothorax can be hereditary. My dad, my brother, and I have all had it; the only difference was that I had it on my left side, and they had it on their right side. If you experience any symptoms, go to the ER right away!

Comment from: chipUSMC, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 10

I was recently unfortunately able to experience a pneumothorax. I fell down some stairs, fracturing three ribs and collapsing my lung. When I got to the hospital, the lung was 20% collapsed. By the time I was seen, it had gotten to 75% collapsed. A chest tube was placed. A couple days later, I was released and went home. I had many problems in the days to come. The Percocet wasn't enough to treat the pain. After going to the hospital a number of times, I was finally put on Dilaudid.

Comment from: nomorecollapsedlung, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 16

I was sitting down smoking. After a while felt a weird pain in my back. I got up to go take a shower right after and my body started acting weird and could not catch my breath. I saw doctor and was prescribed antibiotics and a steroid shot thinking it was upper respiratory infection or bronchitis. A week later, I was still hurting and not breathing went back to doctor. A week after that, I went back as I was not feeling better at all. The doctor sent me to get blood work for a blood clot and an X-ray. The X-ray tech said your lung is 100% collapsed and you need a chest tube quickly. I told them I'd been like this for two weeks now! I was rushed to the hospital where the chest tube was placed. I spent three nights in hospital and now it has been about four weeks since I got out. I have no problems. I was a long-time smoker since I was a teenager, but I haven't had a puff since right before I went in the hospital to do the X-ray! It was a terrible experience, but it got me to quit smoking!


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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax):

Pneumothorax - Causes

What was the cause of your pneumothorax?

Collapsed Lung - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your collapsed lung?

Collapsed Lung - Treatment

What was the treatment for your collapsed lung?

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