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Pneumothorax Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Like the heart, the lung, which controls repeated breathing movements through exhalation and inhalation, is an organ that does not rest and performs essential functions to sustain life. Pneumothorax is a disease in which air or gas fills in the pleural space surrounding the lungs due to the formation of a hole in the lung, which plays such an important role. According to the cause, it is classified into spontaneous pneumothorax, which occurs spontaneously without trauma, and traumatic pneumothorax due to trauma.

Spontaneous pneumothorax is divided into primary pneumothorax and secondary pneumothorax. Primary pneumothorax occurs in healthy people with no specific cause, and it is said to be caused by small air sacs in the pleura at the top of the lungs. Although the cause of primary pneumothorax is not clearly known, it is known that most cases occur in people who are thin and tall and have a smoking history. Due to the rapid growth and development of adolescence, the lung tissue progresses faster than the development of pulmonary blood vessels, and the mechanism of action of the relatively insufficient blood supply to the apical end of the lung is presumed to be a factor that greatly affects the occurrence of such pneumothorax. there is. In addition, secondary pneumothorax is known to occur when there are existing lung-related diseases such as tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis.

Traumatic pneumothorax is known to be caused by damage to the adjacent lung as the ribs are fractured due to trauma such as being punctured by a sharp object or in a traffic accident. In addition, it has been reported that factors such as family history and menstruation also influence the occurrence of pneumothorax. Now, let’s take a closer look at the main symptoms of pneumothorax and various information about treatment and prevention.

Main symptoms of pneumothorax

The main symptoms of pneumothorax are chest pain and shortness of breath. The most common symptom of pneumothorax is chest pain, which occurs suddenly, like a sharp stab in the chest when small air bubbles burst, and then gradually changes to persistent and dull pain. Shortness of breath is also one of the symptoms of pneumothorax. If the size of the pneumothorax increases or if you already have a lung-related disease, the symptoms become more severe. Patients with secondary pneumothorax, which occur in the elderly, also have more severe respiratory distress.

In addition, in the case of tension pneumothorax, which is caused by a gradual increase in pressure because air enters the chest cavity when breathing in, but does not exhaust air in the chest cavity when breathing out, cyanosis, in which the skin and mucous membranes of the lips and ancestors become dark blue hypotension, including And if these major symptoms of pneumothorax get worse, it can lead to a situation in which air compresses not only the lungs but also the heart, which can lead to life-threatening and fatal results.

Pneumothorax Treatment and Management

1. Accurate diagnosis through examination findings and examination

For pneumothorax, the patient undergoes an accurate diagnosis by performing a chest X-ray as well as examination findings. A chest CT scan is sometimes performed to more accurately confirm the size and location of small bubbles that act as the cause of pneumothorax, or to check the presence or absence of accompanying causative diseases. And if pneumothorax is confirmed through these various tests, treatment is carried out based on the patient’s condition and whether there is a recurrence. Treatment is carried out with the goal of inducing expansion of the lungs by removing the leaked air from the lungs in the chest cavity, and at the same time closing the chest cavity to prevent recurrence as much as possible.

2. Treatment according to the patient’s condition

If the size of the pneumothorax is small and the symptoms are not severe, the primary treatment is to wait until the hole in the lungs heals spontaneously by administering oxygen. However, if the size of the pneumothorax is large or the symptoms are severe, chemical pleural adhesions can be performed to prevent air leakage, and various treatment methods such as thoracic chamfer and chest tube intubation are applied. In the case of pleural accretion, tetracycline was used a lot in the past, but recently, iodide oil, Abnobaviscum, and talc powder are being used to treat a lot. Pneumothorax is known as a disease with a high probability of recurrence even if the symptoms have improved by applying these various treatment methods, so it is very important to maintain it continuously even after treatment.

3. Refrain from smoking and strenuous exercise

It is the most important management habit in the treatment of pneumothorax, and the most important management rule to prevent worsening of symptoms is to quit smoking. According to statistics, it has been reported that smoking is 20 times more likely to develop pneumothorax compared to not smoking.

In addition, in most cases, pneumothorax is caused by the rupture of small cells, so it is recommended not to engage in vigorous exercise with high activity or excessive strength exercise to prevent recurrence. In addition, since the air sacs of the lungs can be affected by high altitude or pressure, it is recommended that those who have been diagnosed with pneumothorax or are likely to recur, consult a specialist before flying for a long time.

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