Types of Pneumothorax


Pneumothorax: abnormal presence of air in the pleural cavity

Types of pneumothorax:

  1. Closed pneumothorax
  2. Open pneumothorax
  3. Spontaneous pneumothorax: Air in the pleural space that is ideopathic in nature, however is often the result of underlying disease, termed a secondary pneumothorax.
  4. Traumatic pneumothorax
  • Flail chest: A severe traumatic injury of the rib cage
  • integrity of the rib cage is compromised as multiple osseous fragments respond as an independent segment from the rest of the chest wall during inspiration and expiration.
  • The rib fragments are drawn inwards with each inspiration and pushed outwards with each expiration.


Flail Chest Symptoms:

  • Dyspnea
  • Chest pain
  • Crepitus

  1. Tension pneumothorax: life-threatening condition that results from a progressive deterioration and worsening of a simple pneumothorax, associated with the formation of a `one-way valve` of air entering the space but not leaving.


Pneumothorax manifestations:

  1. Tachypnea
  2. Dyspnea
  3. Restlessness
  4. Anxiety
  5. Tachycardia
  6. Cyanosis
  7. Use of accessory breathing muscles
  8. Decreased or absent breathing sounds
  9. Decreased movement on the affected side


Tension Pneumothorax (one way air leak)

  • air moves into the pleural space and becomes trapped
  • increased positive pressure in pleural space results in lung compression.
  • Mediastinal shift to opposite side
  • the opposite lung is compressed.


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