July 28, 2016
font size

Pneumothorax (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What is the treatment for pneumothorax?

  • A small pneumothorax without underlying lung disease may resolve on its own in one to two weeks.
  • A larger pneumothorax and a pneumothorax associated with underlying lung disease often require aspiration of the free air and/or placement of a chest tube to evacuate the air. Possible complications of chest tube insertion include
    • pain,
    • infection of the space between the lung and chest wall (the pleural space),
    • hemorrhage (bleeding),
    • fluid accumulation in the lung, and
    • low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • In some cases, the leak does not close on its own. This is called a bronchopleural fistula (punctured lung), and may require chest surgery to repair the hole in the lung.

What is the pprognosis of pneumothorax?

The outcome of pneumothorax depends upon the extent and type of pneumothorax.

  • A small spontaneous pneumothorax will generally resolve on its own without treatment.
  • A secondary pneumothorax associated with underlying disease, even when small, is much more serious and carries a significant mortality (death) rate. A secondary pneumothorax requires urgent and immediate treatment.
  • Having one pneumothorax increases the risk of developing the condition again. Most recurrences occur within the first year.

Medically reviewed by James E Gerace, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Pulmonary Disease


The American Lung Association

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations