Pneumothorax

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Pneumothorax

Definition

  • A pneumothorax is a collection of air outside the lung but within the pleural cavity.
  • It occurs when air accumulates between the parietal and visceral pleurae inside the chest.
  • The air accumulation can apply pressure on the lung and make it collapse. (1) 

There aren’t many true synonyms for pneumothorax in everyday language, but some related terms you might encounter include:

  • Collapsed lung: This is a common way to describe pneumothorax for easier understanding by the general public. Air in the pleural space causes the lung to collapse partially or completely.
     
  • Punctured lung: This term refers specifically to pneumothorax caused by a physical injury that punctures the lung tissue, allowing air to enter the pleural space.

In the medical field, there are a few other terms used depending on the specific type of pneumothorax:

  • Simple pneumothorax: This is the most common type, where air enters the pleural space but isn’t constantly leaking in.
  • Tension pneumothorax: This is a life-threatening condition where air continues to enter the pleural space without escaping, putting pressure on the lung and other organs.
  • Open pneumothorax: This occurs when there’s a large opening in the chest wall that allows air to enter the pleural space.
  • Spontaneous pneumothorax: This type develops without a clear cause or injury.
  • Secondary pneumothorax: This occurs in people with underlying lung conditions like COPD or cystic fibrosis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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