A Collapsed lung, or in other words a “Pneumothorax,” is a condition where the air enters inside the chest, builds up there, and is trapped in that hollow between your lungs and outer chest. A small or primary pneumothorax may cause few or no symptoms and occurs without any apparent lung illness. However, a severe case of Pneumothorax, also called secondary Pneumothorax, can squash the lung and cause it to collapse by forming a one-way valve for air. Minor cases of Pneumothorax can get better with time if treated properly. But a more severe case will need urgent treatment. 

The severity depends on how much air gets trapped in the chest and whether the patient already has an existing lung condition or illness. 

This air build-up usually comes from a cut on the outside of the lung that a chest injury may have caused. If the slit or cut is small, it will close as the lung collapses, so only a small amount of air can. However, if the tear is significantly larger, the air may continue to seep into the pleural space as someone breathes, which can damage the other lung. This is called tension pneumothorax and can be a life-threatening situation. In this case, Emergency treatment is needed to release the trapped air.

Pneumothorax, frequently known as a collapsed lung, is excruciating and startling.

Pneumo refers to air, and thorax means chest. So a pneumothorax is when there’s air in the chest, specifically in the pleural space located between the lungs and the chest wall. The pleural space lies between the chest wall and the lungs. 

It contains a lubricating fluid that helps reduce friction as the lungs expand and contract pressure within the pleural space. Two main opposing forces establish this pressure. 

One is the muscle tension of the diaphragm and the chest wall, and the thoracic cavity outwards. The other is the elastic recoil of the lungs, which tries to pull the lungs inwards. 

These two pulls on each other create a balance between the forces that create a slight vacuum in the pleural space. 

It results in the pleural space building pressure of minus five centimeters of water relative to zero centimeters. When the seal of the pleural space is punctured, and air moves in from the outside, it makes the pressure in the pleural space equalize to zero centimeters of water. 

As a result, the lungs simply pull inwards and collapse, and the chest wall springs a bit outwards. A collapsed lung limits how well it can exchange the air and reduce oxygen being brought into the body and a build-up of carbon dioxide because it can’t get released.


Pneumothorax can happen with regular activity. Medically, collapsed lung causes have been categorized into three distinct groups:

· External traumas.

· Medical Ailment.

· Patient’s lifestyle.

Often vigorous physical activity, such as exercise, may also cause Pneumothorax. On the other side, secondary Pneumothorax occurs in existing lung illnesses. Lifestyle aspects such as excessive smoking or the use of drugs are also some of the causes of a Collapsed lung. If immediate effective treatment is not given, this situation can lead to death. 

Pneumothorax can also be instigated by blunt trauma to the chest or as a complication of a surgical procedure (Bronchoscopy). Traumatic Pneumothorax happens when the chest wall is pierced. 

A stab wound, gunshot, or a fractured rib may cause this in most cases. Air enters into the pleural space through the wound. Chest trauma and fractured ribs cause Traumatic Pneumothoraxes in most cases. 

Statistics of Pneumothorax

This figure shows the Indices rate per 100k of male, female and the overall figure.

According to a study, Primary Pneumothorax is most commonly found in people aged 20-30 years. The same study shows that 1 in every 100k women and 7 in every 100k men are affected by primary Pneumothorax.

Pneumothorax Symptoms

The main symptoms of a pneumothorax are shortness of breath(due to the extra air in pleural space) and chest pain. A wheezing sound may be heard in the chest, so it is diagnosed with a stethoscope. The additional air in the pleural space makes the sound louder, known as hyper resonance. 

An X-ray or CT scan is needed for diagnosis. 

These Scans can show the difference between the healthy lung and the collapsed lung, which is mostly black. If there’s a tension pneumothorax, an x-ray or CT might show displacement of the chest structures from the affected side, called tracheal deviation, which is a sign of Pneumothorax.

  • Sharp chest uneasiness that makes breathing difficult.
  • No appearance of oxygen causes light blue skin.
  • Difficulty in Consumption of food.
  • Breathing and heartbeat are both fast.
  • Dry cough.

Risk factors

  • Most people who smoke excessively are more likely to get Pneumothorax.
  • Pneumothorax appears to shift from one generation to another genetically.

· Anyone already infected from one Pneumothorax is at increased risk of another.


Pneumothorax treatment is possible in its very early stage with fast needle decompression or implantation of a chest tube, or a combination of both. Treatment is also dependent upon the specialist who will treat the patient. 

Aspiratory specialists most frequently utilize a single port clinical thoracoscopy.

Chest tubes are generally installed in patients with severe Pneumothorax. Therefore, these patients are treated by thoracic experts since other chest organs may be impacted by and during this treatment. Often, no treatment is required if a spontaneous pneumothorax is small and not causing any shortness of breath.

Patients with spontaneous pneumothoraxes are at risk for recurrence. Chemical Pleurodesis is used to control the recurrence of Pneumothorax. If Pneumothorax causes cardiovascular breakdown, needle decompression is used as a basic component since it can help with restoring cardiovascular outcomes.

Time to Recover

The recovery span depends on the severity of the Pneumothorax and the type of treatment it underwent. Generally, it takes a month to recover in mild Pneumothorax. The patient’s lungs may be checked during this recovery period to work appropriately. In addition, breathing exercises may be prescribed to those recovering from Pneumothorax. It’s a good idea to see an expert learn how consistently and how long you should do breathing exercises.

Final Expressions!

To sum up, a collapsed lung is a matter of concern, but one that can be treated effectively if the damage is found early. Consult clinical help abruptly if you experience signs or results of a collapsed lung, as well as chest tightness or inconvenience in breathing. Pneumothorax treatment depends on the illness’s type, size, and severity. Nevertheless, collapsed lung treatment can save your life.