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Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)

Question:

What was the cause of your pneumothorax? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Jenni, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 05

I had an MRSA infection that led to sepsis which then led to ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). I was intubated. After a few days in ICU, my right lung had a tension pneumothorax which caused my heart to stop beating. I spent a month in ICU on life support before being placed in a regular room. After being in the regular room for two weeks, my left lung collapsed. I've been told that I have many blebs on both lungs and that it could happen again.

Comment from: MVA59, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

I was in a car accident 1 1/2 weeks ago and my airbag deployed directly in my sternum. I was given a chest x-ray which showed bilateral partially collapsed lungs. I am still experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue with activity like cleaning the house, because of the pneumothorax. I stay tired and can't get enough sleep. Deep breaths still hurt.

Comment from: Aejmarsh, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I had a pneumothorax due to being involved in an auto accident. The crash was a frontal impact type. I was knocked unconscious, but do remember a very heavy feeling on my chest. There was no fractured rib. I actually don't know why it collapsed.

Comment from: mcLrph, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 02

I am a healthy female nonsmoker who loves going to the gym. I was recently admitted, last January 11, for primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP). Though I have occasional asthma attacks it was not the reason I was diagnosed with PSP, they said that probably the anatomical structure of my lungs was not that good. Doctor advised me that the only way to treat them is via chest tube thoracostomy. I thought it was just a simple surgery, boy I was wrong. Local anesthesia was given, but the pain while inserting those tubes was like experiencing terrible agony for the first time. After the surgery, I was devastated to hear from my doctor that there is a chance for my right lung to collapse again. At the back of my mind was the thought that I would have to go through that pain again. Worst part is, I still needed to undergo operation because they saw bullae/bulla that might cause my right lung to collapse. It's actually depressing to have this kind of disease. It's like waiting for something so dreadful to happen again.

Comment from: kevin, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: April 19

I am a 29 year old male. I have had 2 pneumothorax episodes in the past year. I am an ex athlete and currently in the fitness industry. Both times I have been in the hospital with a chest tube. I am in pain everyday with shortness of breath while teaching. The pain ranges from shooting, dull, pressure, to burning. Both times it was my right lung but I also have pain in my left. I have never smoked, never done drugs and have no answers. I am going to see a specialist at today and hopefully get some answers. Good luck everyone.

Comment from: Phil miller, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 06

I was trampled by a horse 10 days ago. I had collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and four broken ribs with severe bruising. I was only 15 minutes from the hospital by ground but they flew me in four minutes due to my difficulty in breathing and the color of skin. I had and still have a lot of pain but it is better except for coughing. For the coughing, hugging a pillow helps, as well as pain pills. I am weaning myself off of narcotics to safer forms, but stay on top of the pain; don't wait till it hurts a lot before you take something. I can't wait for this to heal.

Comment from: Red9republic, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: April 17

I recently had a spontaneous pneumothorax, just like my uncle, I was actually at a hospital with my wife's dad when I got mine. I felt severe pain in my shoulder and back out of nowhere, walking with a plate of food. I had to sit down for a while, didn't know what it was, and thought maybe sprain or bursitis (had before as well). I waited 5 days before actually going in, it was starting to feel better, so that's why I waited until it only got so much better. I went back to the hospital and they said I had a 50 percent collapse. Insane, man! I had a tube in for about 7 days, and I stayed at the hospital. It's been about a month, and it's getting better, unfortunately the two surgeons who placed the first tube, severed nerves when they pushed the tube in, it was the absolute worst pain imaginable. My abdomen is paralyzed on the right side now, and clothes feel like fire on my skin. I don't know if I can do anything about that. I got Neurontin prescribed, yet to take one, gets filled tomorrow. I've quit smoking for about a month (since surgery) but I'm in a lot of pain and have little patience.

Comment from: Calvin Jr., 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 16

My recovery from diverticulitis was slow and painful. I was septic and dying by the time they removed my colon. I also had to wear a colostomy bag and the abdominal wound became very infected and had to be packed with gauze strips 2 times a day for over 3 months. I got stronger as time passed (about 5 months) and just about the time I was feeling pretty well, I went back to have the colostomy bag removed and my bowels reconnected. My recovery time was a lot less that time because I wasn't septic. I just have never been the same since that illness. I have weakness, fatigue, and depression. Doctors say it is unusual for one to feel the way I do and think it is in my head. It may be.

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Comment from: samantha, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 08

Well, I've been smoking since I was 15, and around August 2014, I was at a friend's for a few days. When I went home, I wasn't able to breathe. We thought it was a panic attack. Fast forward to end of October 2014, I woke up for work. My hands and feet were numb. I couldn't breathe, I had to force a yawn to get oxygen. This had been going on for months, just not this severe. I went to work with numb limbs, almost passed out. I worked an 8 hour shift. Next day, dad forced me to go to the emergency room and found I had several holes in my lungs and pneumonia. I was in the hospital for three days although they wanted me longer. I do still smoke. Struggling to quit and I still have a hard time breathing. It is awful being addicted to something I know is killing me so quickly.

Comment from: Karen, 35-44 Female Published: November 22

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax in September 2011 it was Tuesday night when I felt a sharp pain in my right side I thought nothing of it and went to bed. The following morning I woke up could not breath I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to my G.P who sent me home with an inhaler and antibiotics and was told to come back the following morning, when seeing a different G.P I was sent to hospital for an x-ray I was kept in hospital for 3 weeks I never received surgery but did have a chest drain inserted twice and it is no fun {as other suffers have said I would not wish this on my worst enemy.} doctors are still reluctant to give me surgery due to my first collapse. I wake up each morning so hoping to feel 100% but it will always be at the back of my mind. i am still signed off my work as I am waiting for my follow up x-ray and have been told by my G.P that my lung has not fully inflated yet. I was a smoker, but not tall or thin. I have not had a cigarette for nearly 2 months now and will never smoke again due to my experience. I was sent to hospital yesterday after seeing my G.P as I was experiencing the same symptoms I was lucky as I was informed that the pain i was experiencing was my lung trying to inflate and stick to the lung sack.

Comment from: Johnny, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 27

After my appendix burst both my lungs collapsed 16 hours after my MRI results.

Comment from: oedward, 13-18 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 11

My lungs collapsed when I was a newborn. It has always been a story my mom would remind me of saying my lungs weren't right and all. She never told me whether it was because of a broken rib or something. I never knew what it was like to know the pain after surgery, obviously because I was only a baby. I have a scar and I always look at it thinking, "Wow, so I have a chest-tube inside of me." Just thinking about it gives me the chills. I haven't collapsed since I was a baby. I'm just wondering what are the things I should and shouldn't be doing for it to not occur anytime soon. I sometimes feel it like it's about to tighten up, and it scares me. I think the last time I felt that was about 2 months ago.

Comment from: Shannon, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

My first pneumothorax was in 2005. I had a severe cold for an extended period of time and had been going to a school clinic every week or two for additional help. I had been coughing uncontrollably and at one moment it felt like the "wind was knocked out of me." I went to the doctor and was sent home. They called back to say that it looked like I had a collapse and they were trying to get me an appointment with a lung specialist. I ended up going to the emergency and having surgery a few hours later. Between 2005 and 2010, I had several recurrences. Many were documented as 5-10%, but since I had the pleurodesis during the first surgery, my surgeon thought I was having problems with anxiety even though the recurrences were documented by X-ray (he didn't think I should be able to feel the small collapses). Fast forward to today, 3 additional surgeries later, I am 2 months out of my last surgery), and I feel awful every day. I'm back at work and pretty much pretending to be fine, but it really, really stinks. This last surgery seems to have been the worst of all. I keep trying to remind myself that it has only been 2 months.

Comment from: Louise, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 01

I was sleeping. I live alone, and I woke up one morning with a sore chest. As the day went on, the pain got worse and it became harder to breathe. I have high blood pressure and take medication to control it. My heart was beating faster and faster. I couldn't breathe in, only out. I waited until after lunch to go to hospital. When I got there, thinking I was having a heart attack, they stabilized me. Although I felt a bit better, I knew something was wrong. It felt like I had air in my chest and kept describing an "air bubble" in my chest. They kept me in hospital overnight. I could hear the air in my chest. It wasn't until lunch time the next day that I had x-rays taken and discovered my whole left lung had collapsed. It took till later that day for the doctors to put a chest tube in. It stayed in for three days, then fell out. Within minutes of the tube falling out, I felt the symptoms happening again. Within half an hour, my lung had collapsed again. The second procedure was the worst pain I'd ever been through.

Comment from: healthy now i hope, Male (Patient) Published: May 31

I am 38, tall, thin, and used to smoke. I had a spontaneous pneumothorax on the left side. I was simply driving on a dirt road and it 100% collapsed. The pain started in my shoulder, and within about three minutes, it was up and down my arm. i could only take tiny breaths with a pain level of about 7 out of 10. After two days (and no one's fault but my own), it progressed to tension pneumothorax. After 10 days in hospital and one operation, I'm home again. This same thing also happened to my uncle.

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Comment from: Kb, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: March 07

Endometriosis of the lung caused my lung to collapse.

Comment from: Student, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: January 31

I went into the ER via ambulance for shortness of breath, chest pain, and cyanosis of the fingers and toes. It was discovered that I had a spontaneous pneumothorax through physical examination upon which a chest tube was inserted as I had fleeting consciousness and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The pulmonologist I saw in the ICU explained to me that the collapse was due to a strong diaphragm and violent coughing, as I had been sick for about a week prior. My outpatient pulmonologist is doing a sweat chloride test and a blood test to see if I have cystic fibrosis due to the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus at age four. I am 5'0" (152 cm) tall and weighed 125 lbs (57kg) at the time of the event so evidently not a tall and thin person. I have the sweat chloride test tomorrow so we'll find out if the spontaneous pneumothorax was due to a mild case of cystic fibrosis.

Comment from: Grateful Breather, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 03

I suffered my first collapse in 2007. I waited for several hours in the waiting room. After the chest X-ray, a code was called and I was told they were afraid I was going to have cardiac arrest and die. A chest tube was put in and I spent 20 days in the hospital and lost 36 pounds. After release, I was a bag of bones. I suffered a second collapse in 2012. I had VATS surgery with Pleurectomy the next day. Five days later I was released. All these months later, I still do not feel fully recovered. I am a non-smoker and a healthy gym hound. I still get random pains from it.

Comment from: CMM, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: June 11

I had a mountain bike accident last year and landed hard on the side of my chest. I did not break any ribs, but the force of the fall ruptured the top of my left lung. I quickly developed shortness of breath and a crushing pain in my sternum. For a moment I thought that I was having a heart attack. The paramedics and mountain rescue services evacuated me to hospital and my chest was aspired with a needle. The lung collapse was approximately 40%.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

IMS (intramuscular stimulation) done by a physiotherapist was the cause of mine. I ended up with a Heimlich valve at home for three days. My physio was very reputable and the most experienced in our area. A pneumothorax is a very real risk when any needling is done over the ribs.

Comment from: College student, 13-18 Male (Patient) Published: April 18

When I was 17 I had my first pneumothorax. I was knocked out and it was an easy time. I spent four days in the hospital. I was fine for a good year, playing and running fine. I'm 18 now, and a few weeks ago I had another spontaneous pneumothorax. It hurt so badly. My back felt like it was being stabbed and bending down felt like my heart was falling out of my mouth. I was rushed to the hospital where I got a chest tube which was excruciating. I could feel the tube go in and the air moving around. Then, I was fine. I spent another four days in the hospital and the doctor took it out. The lung collapsed again and I had to get surgery.

Comment from: Peter1973, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 13

I suffered a large tension pneumothorax in 2006 following a mountain bike accident in local woodland. I was knocked out and was lucky enough to have been found by a healthcare worker who realized I was in a lot of trouble! I do not remember much of what happened, but I do recall feeling very weak and in immense pain every time I inhaled air.

Comment from: IamMorges, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: February 27

My grandmother's left lung collapsed after a bronchoscopy was performed. They had to put in a chest tube. Will she be okay?

Comment from: Amy, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: November 22

I had pneumothorax 2 years ago. One day when I was walking, my left back was very painful and I was a little but dizzy. I thought it was due to my heavy bag so I used a backpack and it seemed better. I then often feel the back pain and I cough. I have consulted the doctor but he said it was just muscle pain and coughing so he gave me medicines to treat these symptoms. Of course it could not help. A month later, one day morning I ran to the exam venue. I then consulted another doctor in my campus and he told me it might be pneumothorax. I was so lucky that i was still running that morning for my exam! then i was sent to the hospital and got diagnosed as the spontaneous one. My lung collapsed for the second time when the doctor took out the tube. Therefore I stayed in the hospital for two weeks. Later when I was discharged, though feel loved, was annoyed by people misunderstands the spontaneousity and saying that I was stressed so I got it.

Comment from: arrie822, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 31

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax while in jail. It was my left side of my chest and it hurt so bad I was passing out and coming to when I couldn't stand the pain. The sheriff took me to the hospital. The doctor sent me back to jail saying that I was only there to get out of jail and that I was doing it for the attention. About five minutes from the jail the sheriff got a call saying that I needed to return cause my lung had popped like a balloon and collapsed. I spent five days in the hospital and told to stay below 3000 feet in altitude. The pain was like nothing I ever felt before.

Comment from: Blessed, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 18

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax after eating. I had been working out running and free weights. I was going to see my Doctor that next week on a Wed. I had been walking around for about 5 days with a collapsed lung. I saw my Doctor I told him what happen and he had me take a chest X-ray. This ishow I found out that I had a collapsed lung. It was a miracle that I was able to walk around and take care of my kids during that time.

Comment from: katfreder, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 05

A friend of mine had a collapsed lung and her doctor told her that having her period can cause this. I've never heard of such a thing.

Comment from: Alex, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 05

On May 2011, I went to Alaska, from Florida for a 7 day cruise. The first 2 days we spent in Anchorage and we were just walking around touring the city and I had some lunch and about 40 minutes later I was experiencing some awful pain in the middle of my chest. It started to radiate to my left shoulder and then in my back, under my shoulder bone. They said it was a spontaneous pneumothorax. I have never smoked, had any injuries or recently fallen. The doctor does not attribute the 7 hour flight either. I am just paranoid about it recurring. I keep reading about that chance. Hope all of you are doing better.

Comment from: Chip, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 02

I had a respiratory infection that lingered for 8 weeks despite 3 series of antibiotics, inhalers, and medicines. I experienced extremely violent coughing bouts and about 8 days of minimal sleep. Suddenly I could only draw about a quarter breath and called 911. I spent the next four days in the hospital and have been out from work for four weeks.

Comment from: 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 15

While sitting at my computer at work on day in January, I sneezed (no, I wasn't holding my nose). A few minutes later I noticed I was short of breath and my chest was hurting. It got bad enough that I went to the emergency room about half an hour later and was informed that the symptoms were caused by my left lung which was about 50-60% collapsed. I was told that while they had heard of people collapsing a lung by sneezing, they had never seen an actual case at that Dallas area hospital. They inserted a tube into my chest in the hope it would allow the lung to re-inflate, but after 4 days, gave up and decided to operate. I spent a total of 10 days in the hospital and 4 weeks recovering at home afterward.

Comment from: CaliforniaLove, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 07

I have had 5 pneumothoraxes in just over 2 years in my left lung. I was 28 when it first started. I am a young female, healthy, physically active non-smoker, not the typical person this happens to at all. Every time it happened I was laying down sleeping. The first time it was the worst, 50% collapsed with a lot of chest pain and shortness of breath. I had a chest tube for 2 days and it was the most painful experience of my life. The next 2 times it happened I was pregnant and they were smaller collapses, 20% and 10% which required no treatment but I did go to the ER every time. Nine days after my son was born, it collapsed again, small.

Comment from: gazz666, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 25

I'm a 36 yr old male, quite tall and thin, I'm very fit and run an average of 3-4 miles a day. Unfortunately, I have smoked since I was 14 years old. I served in the Army for 10 yrs and am now a police officer, so I still live an active physical lifestyle. About 5 days ago I was showering and as I raised my left arm to rinse my hair. I felt a sharp pain race down the muscle in my back and felt a pop. I thought I have just tweaked a muscle and carried on the day in a bit of pain thinking it'll sort itself out. Five hrs later it got to the stage where I couldn't walk 20 yards without stopping for air and decided to get it checked out at A&E. After an X-ray it was confirmed that I had suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax and had a chest drain put in. After 3 days, I'm back at home, and still sore but I'm. I'm amazed that this happened for no apparent reason, and needless to say I must stop smoking.

Comment from: Corina, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 14

My wife has had 3 lung collapses, due to fibrosis. She had 2 tubes at the same time inserted, one in her top chest, the second one in the top back. Doctors said this procedure has not been working at all, so she needs to have lung transplant, but if the Medi-Cal insurance from CA State, doesn't pay for it, she can't have a lung transplant. We are low income family. I just have few hours on my workplace -- about 28 per week I can't afford to pay any insurance.

Comment from: jellman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 31

I recently developed endocarditis, an infection on my Mitral valve, and had to have open heart surgery to replace the valve. About a week after getting home I noticed when I bent down I would need to cough, and since I had to sleep on my back, my breathing was strange, I didn't seem to have a problem with breathing though and no real pain, I just thought something was weird, different, in fact I walked about a mile or so to my cardiologist for my follow up appointment. I explained to him my symptoms and he ordered an X-ray. By the time I had walked home they had called the house saying I needed to go to ER, due to a 50% collapsed lung. So back to the hospital I went. It sucked. The worst part was when they pulled the chest tube out after three days. I have no idea how I got the collapsed lung.

Comment from: jojodavis122, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: May 14

My lung collapsed during a bronchoscopy. Two pumps were put in: one was inserted in the wrong place, the second pulled out before being attached to the pump. Miraculously the lung corrected overnight on its own.

Comment from: GaryTan99, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 13

I am a 28 year old male and had my first collapsed lung in 2001. I had another 5 on my left side before I had pleural abrasion done. Then in 2006 I had my first one on the right side, this one hurt the most and felt like someone was sitting on my chest. The pain was so bad that I was vomiting and passing out, I got admitted to hospital and put on 100% oxygen but this did nothing. I was then back in surgery having another plural abrasion. They said the cause was unknown. I still get some pain and discomfort in my chest but nothing as bad as the final collapse. Also as stated in a previous comment, the worst part of both operations was having the chest drain tubes pulled out! It felt like someone had stabbed a red hot knife into your chest.

Comment from: cpmattison, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

Dumbbells fell on my chest while exercising. I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was short of breath and pain wouldn't allow me to sit. 911 was called. The diagnosis was collapsed lung. The doctor wanted to place a stint in my lung. I was too afraid to allow this procedure to happen. I am 33 years old without insurance. Help!

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