Collapsed Lung (Pneumothorax)


Please describe your experience with pneumothorax. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Keith, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 04

I had a pneumothorax and I had to have it surgically sealed. Before they let me out of the hospital, when they pulled the hose out it didn't come out and hurt like crazy. I think they broke my ribs. That was three years ago and I haven't had a pain-free breath since. I don’t know what happened and the doctors will not give me a straight answer.

Comment from: Mark a, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 30

If anyone gets pain on top of the shoulder up the side of neck, it's pneumothorax. It was on my right lung, I was in the hospital with chest drain in stitch under the arm. The tube brought the lung back up, only problem is it kept going down all time. I was in and out of hospital with the same thing. It's good thing I am strong or I'd be dead. They stuck a massive big needle right between both lungs and drained yellow fluid from my lung. I had lung surgery, stapled on inside. I had blebs bad, 4.7 cm 7.7 cm blebs were cut away from the lobe. I had thoracic lung surgery in 2019, then in 2021 on kidney. I have COPD and back problem.

Comment from: Brian M, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 22

I had a pneumothorax about 3 weeks ago after chest drain and suction. I have a dry cough and feel really poorly. I can't find any online information about this cough after a pneumothorax, whether it is normal or not.

Comment from: Missmyangels, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I had my first pneumothorax when I was around 19. My second one, a year later. I had both lungs operated on back then. I still get one every 3-4 years since then and they have all resolved themselves until the last one I had a month ago, which required a chest tube. I guess it'll never end.

Comment from: Ken, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 17

I suffered an impact to my chest in sport and broke a rib. The pain increased over the next few minutes and my breathing became difficult. An ambulance was called and I was transported to the emergency department (ED). On the way, the pain was excruciating. X-ray showed full lung collapse (pneumothorax). I had a tube put in (very painful) that stayed in 5 days. I have ongoing chest pain. Horrible experience.

Comment from: Roosevelt T, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: October 27

My left shoulder continues to hurt after my pneumothorax.

Comment from: Chris , 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

I'm a 67 year old lady who suddenly had spontaneous pneumothorax, and that was 18 months ago. The recovery was terrible and I am still getting cramp at the side and under the left breast.

Comment from: TheReaper , 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I was leaning against my dad’s truck talking to him one Saturday afternoon and all of a sudden, collapsed due to major pain. I wasn’t able to breathe, thought I just pulled a muscle but went to the emergency room (ER) anyway, where I found out my right lung collapsed (pneumothorax). I had a chest tube put in and spent 7 days in the hospital before the tube was removed and got sent home. So far so good, though hopefully it stays that way.

Comment from: Paul.L., 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 05

Both my lungs collapsed twice over 3 years. After the second time of pneumothorax, I had pleurodesis done on both lungs. That is gluing the lung to a bag surrounding your lungs. My advice is, stop smoking. It’s been 50 years now and I'm in pretty good health (I'm 65). I get pneumonia easily if I get the flu. I'm careful. I do deep breathing exercises. Good news is, you can still have a good long life. Just take care of yourself.

Comment from: Mikey, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: August 05

I am 19 now, my lung collapsed twice about a year and a half ago. They had to replace one of the tubes the first time because it was pushing up against a box of nerves in my shoulder, causing a very intense pain that almost felt like my arm was being crushed. It’s been a while since my pneumothorax and the pain in that arm comes back every so often and my chest hurts on the left side where my lung collapsed. The pains are getting worse over time and I’m thinking about seeing a doctor about managing it.

Comment from: Kiwi in Cairns, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 16

I woke up thinking I'd slept on the TV remote, pain was 3/10, so thought nothing of it for 2 weeks, but the inability to burp the air in my chest cavity became a torture and so painful. I spent two months in hospital with a suction drain but the lung kept collapsing, so they operated on it through the drain hole. They sprayed the lung with talc which makes it now stick to the chest wall. After 4 months recovery from pneumothorax, I get ghost pain, have pain nightmares, haven't been able to play volley ball again, and get puffed so easy. Not fun.


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Comment from: MRodman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 04

When I was 20 I was going to the doctor every week because my shoulder was hurting pretty bad. This went on for months and I kept getting the same diagnosis that it was muscular, every time. Long story short, I awoke one night wheezing terribly so I went to the emergency room (ER) and they found that my left lung was 100 percent collapsed and my right one was starting to collapse. The ER doctor asked me if I didn’t feel it, because it’s extremely painful. Lesson; trust your body, not doctors.

Comment from: VATS, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 21

I received video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) on both my lungs when I was 18 year old, and I am now 31. In the past 13 years I had minor pneumothorax, my last leak was when I was 26. I live my life like a normal bachelor. I socially drink during the weekend, partake in light exercising (i.e., swimming, light weights, sports, etc.). Last month I went to the Universal Studios parks, and had no issues with the rides. From time to time my chest feels heavy, but I can breathe fine, and can hold my breath.

Comment from: Unexpected , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 19

Because I am lean and tall doctors think this explains my spontaneous pneumothorax. Tomorrow It’s six months since I woke up and heard a pop as I turned to leave my bathroom. It was shortly after, I started to feel off color and then a shorter time from then before I too felt the heart attack style symptoms and couldn’t breathe. The entire event was traumatic and I’m nervous and frightened it will happen again. No surgery this time but I still feel very unsure about increasing exercise.

Comment from: Krysis, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: April 30

I am 20 years old, and 8 months ago I had a spontaneous pneumothorax because I was wrestling with my friend and I must have landed wrong. It doesn't help that I'm tall and skinny. I spent a week in the hospital with a chest tube. I got out healthy but 8 months later, I still have pain almost every day.

Comment from: Exhausted, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 02

I had a traumatic pneumothorax that was very large due to an assault. I spent 5 days in the hospital with a chest tube following emergency surgery. My breathing is not the same; 1.5 years out, breathing is more restricted per my most recent pulmonary function test. I have been placed on Advair and an albuterol Inhaler. Never been a smoker. I also experience random sharp pains where my chest tube was, from time to time. Experienced it over 2 days last week. It will be 2 years in July.

Comment from: Chris, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 29

I woke up coughing like I’d breathed in something. Next day, I couldn’t make the bed without gasping for breath. It took a week before an X-ray and diagnosis of spontaneous pneumothorax, full right lung collapse. Specialists tried a conservative treatment. It’s been 3 weeks and my lung is 50 percent reinflated without any treatment.

Comment from: Valdesadriana, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

About a year ago I had a spontaneous pneumothorax while I was sleeping. I ignored it and went to work the next day. Bad idea, my lung and left arm hurt so bad, I kept punching it with my other hand to make it stop. At the hospital they put a tube. A few months later it happened again but this time my left arm didn’t hurt so much but I couldn’t sit down or lie down. My spine was on fire. After two shots of morphine and another tube I had to get surgery. The recovery was torture. I still have ghost pains.

Comment from: Andrew, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

I am 20 years old and about 5 months ago I experienced a collapsed lung (pneumothorax). I woke up one morning, after working out the night before, and experienced extreme pain in my chest and had a very hard time breathing. I thought it was a muscle strain since I did a tough workout so I gave it some time to heal. After a week or so I went in to the emergency room and my x-ray showed my right lung was completely collapsed. I further needed surgery and even a second one. I am experiencing mild chest pain again.

Comment from: benjamine c, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

My lung collapsed 2 times in 1 month, both times I had my chest drained. On the 3rd time with pneumothorax, I knew what was going to happen, got to the hospital early and got the operation done to my lung. it's been 3 years, my breathing is halved, and I live like an old man; I can’t even ride a bike. I'm 35. I'm still in pain.

Comment from: N/A, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 18

I am 19 years old, nonsmoker. I got my first pneumothorax one and a half years ago, and after the 4th one this January, I got a drastic surgery to remove an entire wedge of my lung. About 2-3 months after the surgery, I got another pneumothorax, albeit a little smaller this time. A month later, I got two more. I am now on my 6th pneumothorax with no end in sight.


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Comment from: Natalie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 30

At 19 years old, I had a spontaneous pneumothorax. I felt moderate chest pains and shoulder pains a few weeks prior, but attributed it to indigestion, and it resolved itself. A month later the pains came back, and I went to the emergency room even though I didn’t think it was anything serious. When they told me I had a collapsed lung I couldn’t believe it. The tube didn’t work, so I went in for a full surgery. I’m now 5 months recovered and have been feeling mild discomfort and pain in the area every day.

Comment from: LT, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I currently have a primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) at about 10 percent on my left lung. I remember putting my 7-month-old to sleep and I lay down to play a few games on my phone. And I had this horrible shoulder pain. I lay on my right side and ended up falling asleep. I awoke the next morning and the pain came back full force. Thought it was a heart attack. I went to the emergency room and that's where I got diagnosed. They sent me home and said it should resolve on its own. Very scared of it returning.

Comment from: Eugene C., 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: June 02

Currently I am experiencing my second case of pneumothorax. First one, I had severe chest pain after being upset and throwing objects across the room, and no signs of breathing problems. I went to the emergency room immediately, didn't hesitate to. It came out as primary spontaneous pneumothorax. It was so small that x-ray didn't really catch it at first, until a CT Scan did. I recovered without treatment. Three weeks later, now I'm experiencing another spontaneous pneumothorax, same side, but feels worse. Breathing seems normal, only shallow to avoid pain.

Comment from: Wyatt, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: April 17

In November 19, I had a spontaneous pneumothorax while I was asleep. I woke up around 6 am, felt like something was stuck. I made it to the bathroom where I collapsed in pain and couldn't breathe at all. My wife called the ambulance and I was rushed to the emergency room. They took x-rays, and it was 100 percent collapsed. Thought I was a goner.

Comment from: Jo, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I had a what the general physician (GP) said was a chest infection. I had antibiotics and my cough was really hacking and dry. After 2 weeks of this I thought my ribs were hurting from coughing, the pain got so bad I thought I had broken my ribs. Then my breathing got worse, it was hard to talk, and if I coughed I was crying in pain trying to hold a cushion against my ribs. Eventually after being sent away 3 times by nurse practitioners a locum GP sent me for an x-ray. I had collapsed lung (pneumothorax) and pneumonia.

Comment from: CatherineRoy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 23

I had a pneumothorax in the beginning of February. Took 8 days to finally stop leaking and then I healed. They wanted me to have surgery but I refused since my body healed. Since it took another 3 weeks for remaining air to resorb I was on total rest. So 6 weeks resting and doing nothing. I wonder for some of you who had a pneumothorax with no surgery, how long it took to be back to normal. I am really active and was teaching fitness and yoga but even going on a walk is still hard. Not sure if it is normal.

Comment from: Pneuma, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 16

I was sleeping and woke up to what I thought was a heart attack. I was then taken to the emergency room where I was told I had a pneumothorax, collapsed lung. The doctor put in an emergency chest tube because I was getting ready to pass out. Two days later while in the hospital my lung collapsed again, and then they put me on suction. Two days after suction they said it was ready to be out and it collapsed again. They put a new tube in and 4 days later I was home.

Comment from: Paj. G, 45-54 (Patient) Published: February 11

A month ago I fell down my stairs, in excruciating pain I took painkillers for two days until giving in for Accident and Emergency. I was told I had pneumothorax plus 7 broken ribs. After a chest drain I was still in agony and had a plate and screws put in, as 3 of my broken ribs were broken in 2 places. I was in hospital for 10 days. I'm still in agony, on lots of pain killers including two lots of morphine, and due to go back to a very active job in 3 weeks.

Comment from: JNigel, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: February 11

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax, not doing anything strenuous. It started as chest pain on my left side, making its way to my shoulder. It quickly got agonizing and I could not breathe. The paramedics recognized it based on my tall, skinny build. I got emergency surgery in the emergency room to put a drain tube in. It took me 2 weeks, a surgery, and a total of three tubes in my side before it eventually healed. I was back to work a few days after! I still have twinges of pain every now and then.

Comment from: Jenine , 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 05

Pneumothorax is the worst pain ever. Last week I was smoking a fag. Had a massive coughing fit and that was that. I thought I was having a heart attack. I thought I couldn’t breathe! Chest drain in and I was home 6 days later. Cracked rib also! So scared it will happen again. It’s torture.

Comment from: Natedog, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 21

No strenuous exercise, no accidents, just acquired the pneumothorax days before I was due to fly out on holiday. I got checked out by a local doctor who then referred me to Accident and Emergency where a sizeable area collapse was seen on x-ray. Drain was put in within hours and holiday was out of the question. I spent 11 days in the first hospital, the lung did not fully inflate, a lot better and almost complete but not full. Referred and transferred to a specialist hospital where I stayed for a further 5 weeks. Devastated.

Comment from: Katd05384, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax when 28 weeks pregnant. I'd been having shortness of breath and a pain up under my left shoulder blade occasionally, but then one day sitting while folding laundry it felt like I was having a classic heart attack; crushing pain radiating down into my arm and up my neck. The emergency room diagnosed me with an x-ray and placed a tube. Seven days later I had surgery to wedge and staple the lung and pleurodesis to keep it from collapsing again. Spent 10 days in hospital. No pushing, so had C-section later.

Comment from: Santy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 10

I first had a spontaneous collapsed lung 12 years ago on my right side then my second pneumothorax on the left side. I have smoked weed for almost 20 years, I know, stupid, and I should have quit after my first collapse. I had a drain in for 7 days, then had to have surgery to take cysts out of my left lung. I have been home now for about 3 weeks but still on pain killers. I haven't smoked for 35 days now but I'm really struggling not to have a spliff; life is awful right now.

Comment from: Youknowwhouare87, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

On November 4th I was savagely beat up by two big men, knocked unconscious, brutally stomped several times while unconscious, and left for dead. I had a fractured jaw, concussion, and 4 broken ribs two of which punctured my left lung with two holes and caused pneumothorax. After the chest tube was removed my shoulder blades hurt, they still hurt so bad when I breathe. I am worried if it is my lungs making my shoulder blades hurt with stabbing pain.

Comment from: Marciaj, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

A lung biopsy resulted in a pneumothorax. I was admitted to the hospital in hopes that the hole would repair itself overnight. It did not. A tube was inserted through my rib cage and attached to a pump to pump out the escaping air in the pleural area. The post pain was excruciating, not the initial insertion of tube. After 4 CT scans and 20 plus x-rays over the next 5 days, the 40 percent deflated lung finally inflated. Tube was pulled out. So glad to be home, but tired. Good news though. Lung nodule benign!

Comment from: Wonderer, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 30

This was the first time I was going home from work using bicycle as my ride. After I went home I felt so tired, I rested a little bit, and then when I moved around I felt such a terrible pain in my chest and my back I could not even walk normally. Then I got admitted for pneumothorax and they put chest tube for 2 days. After staying in the hospital for 4 days they sent me home. Then 3 days after I again got this spontaneous pneumothorax. I have been in the hospital for so long. Then the doctor decided to VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery).

Comment from: nick, 19-24 (Patient) Published: September 10

I am a tall skinny male, so that means I am at a higher risk for pneumothorax. I have a medical card and was smoking one night before going to bed and I felt a sharp pain in my chest near my armpit. O went to lie down to go to sleep and started to feel a sloshing sensation in my chest which was also very audible; anyone in the room could also hear it. I became short of breath and my heart rate increased as I started to get dizzy and weak. The left lung ruptured and an air pocket was putting pressure on my heart.

Comment from: Jeremy g, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 05

I had a punctured lung causing pneumothorax. I nearly committed suicide stabbing myself twice with a kitchen steak knife. I stopped fortunately after the second stab. I had a tube put in and took a few days to recover. It’s been almost 10 months and I am doing much better. I started college. I still have chest pain though and it definitely affects my mood to be in pain so much. Take care of your body the best you can. And mind and soul as well.

Comment from: Kodi, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 27

I went into hospital for a shoulder arthroscopy. When I came round in recovery they told me I had a left lung collapse. Trying to wake me, my left lung wouldn’t inflate. I had one night on high dependency then four days on oxygen before being allowed home after the pneumothorax. The pain of the shoulder and the pain of my lung was terrible. I have been out of hospital 10 days. Today I feel terrible, everywhere hurts, my legs, my arms, my body; everywhere. Hope the pain goes away soon.

Comment from: DuraAce, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 16

During a bicycle ride I encountered a 9-year-old who managed to cause a wreck with his skateboard. I was knocked unconscious as I broke my helmet, and fractured C2 to C8 ribs, with a small pneumothorax, no surgical treatment. I’m in my second week of recovery taking 10 mg Percocet and Toradol for pain and anti-inflammation. I was in the hospital for two days, I’m avoiding NSAIDs, and eating protein vitamin C, and milk. At 12 days it is painful and I expect 6 weeks for recovery, I’m not working as I had time banked.

Comment from: Don02, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 21

I have experienced pneumothorax on 3 separate occasions, all different symptoms with same result. First one it felt like trapped air or a huge burp which made me try to burp more which made it worse. Result, chest tube for a week. Second, I actually felt a pop and knew, drove to the emergency room feeling like I was being strangled. Result, chest tube for a week. Third, they finally glued it to my ribs so in the future if it happens it won't fill with air. Result, chest tube for a week. Hopefully my last.

Comment from: Dandare, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: June 06

At age 28 in September 2018 I had right side pneumothorax which felt like heartburn. Hospital confirmed with an x-ray and used a needle let air out. Two weeks later same thing happened, I was taken into surgery for VATS and spent 10 days; very painful! Six months on, I still fear it will happen again, the occasional stabbing pain and fluttering feeling in lung.

Comment from: HELP, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 29

I have had 3 implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) put in, and with every one something was wrong. The third one had a broke wire end so they installed the fourth one, and when they were putting it in I got a collapsed lung or pneumothorax. So they had to put a chest tube in and while doing that they broke some ribs, 7 and 8. From the 8th rib they cut 8 cm off as it had fractured badly from the surgery 3. So I was in hospital for 11 days. It is over a year now and l am still in lots of pain. Oh, I forgot, they broke T 9 in my back. Thank you.

Comment from: Alyssa B, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: May 28

I was 24 when my lung collapsed. It was in March after a rough winter with bronchitis and colds that I had pneumothorax. I was skiing and started having pain in my back and thought nothing of it. A week later I was feeling like I was sick. I went to the doctors and my lung collapsed. They tried poking a hole to get the lung to inflate on its own, it did not work, so they did a chest tube for 7 days and that did not work. I transferred hospitals and realized I had blebs in my lungs that ruptured and I had to have surgery. All in all I was in hospital for 12 days.

Comment from: Jim, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 04

I fractured 3 to 4 ribs and fortunately went back to work in three days. I put a band around my chest so I could work which was the wrong thing to do, and I didn’t breathe deep enough and probably held my breath a lot when I was working, which led to pneumothorax.

Comment from: adslungs, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: October 23

I was going shopping one day, came home, sat about, and felt fine. I stretched out my arms and I had the worst pain ever in my lower back and a dry cough. I was diagnosed with pneumothorax, had drain put in and stayed in hospital for 5 days, then got released. I was ok for a week then it reoccurred now so I went back up there. I was told it happened again in 50 per cent of the people and was told yet again that I had complete collapse but since I have been released and had follow ups it has been good. I still have a bit of pain but at least I am breathing!

Comment from: Veronica, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

Having a pneumothorax hurt so bad that I could not take the pain. Every time I lay down I had to get up and walk around, the pain was so bad I was crying.

Comment from: Lorilo, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 05

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax of the right lung a few years back. It started out as pain in my lower right side, and throughout the day radiated to my right shoulder. I could exhale but couldn't inhale. I threw up multiple times and was really becoming afraid I was going to die, as every time I vomited, I lost more breath. A trip to the emergency room showed the mediastinum had been displaced to the left side. A chest tube was inserted for drainage to expand the lung. Morphine was ordered for pain.

Comment from: Breathing18, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 07

Years ago, I was feeling tired, slightly anxious and my heart was beating a little faster. I thought it was a heart attack. I don’t smoke, no chest pain and no injuries. Urgent care staff said all my vitals were normal and was sending me home. Fortunately, my dad asked the doctor if he could do a chest x-ray. The doctor didn’t agree until he learned my dad was a retired physician. Thank god for my dad! I had a pneumothorax, my right lung had spontaneously collapsed. I had tubes put in, and surgery, and so far lung is still good.

Comment from: Bobhill, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: July 31

I'm 24 and had a chest tube inserted for a pneumothorax on June 26. I was told I had a collapsed lung for an extended amount of time, and smoked a pack a day for 6 years before this happened. I was out of hospital by July 1 and have had no further complications from the lung to this point even though I quit smoking also. I was told my lungs were still in great shape and if I was to quit smoking now they'd stay that way. Thank goodness I wandered into that emergency room.

Comment from: Michael, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 24

Well, I got my pneumothorax on January 9th. I got out of the shower and got a sharp pain in my back. Then it kind of went downhill from there. I thought I had pneumonia at first. I went to work for 3 days until my wife made me go to our doctor. They took an x-ray and said I had a 100 percent collapsed left lung. They sent me to the emergency room and they rushed me into trauma unit. I spent a week in the hospital with a chest tube in my left side. This is the worst pain in the world. It still hurts where they stuck the tube in. But now the doctor says I have stage 4 emphysema so I guess we'll see what happens from here. At 61 I can't complain. Lot of years of smoking. I haven't smoked in 15 years but the damage is done. They say it can happen again. So we'll see. At least I know what it feels like now if it does and not wait so long to get medical care.

Comment from: brian, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 27

I had a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) 3 times last year, I'm a 68 year old male, and I stopped smoking 12 years ago. The last time it collapsed I had surgery and part of my lung was removed. I have emphysema and this had caused bullae and they had to be removed. I had operation at 10.30 am and at 4 pm was having my dinner, and 3 days later went home. I was treated so well. I still have a fair bit of nerve pain but I'm still alive and enjoying life.

Comment from: Chris31UK, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: March 22

I'm a 31 year old male, previously a smoker before my first pneumothorax. The first time my bottom right lung collapsed and I thought it was angina or heart attack. I was rushed to hospital and they stuck a syringe in and then re-inflated the collapsed part. The following day I was just finishing smoking and I could feel a pain when I breathed in and out and felt my lung capacity drop to 50 percent. I was rushed to hospital again and had a drain. After being on and off suction 3 times they operated and used talc to stick my lung to the wall. My lung is still only 93 percent inflated and I have been in hospital 4 weeks so far. (I am still here!) I'm on flutter bag for the 3rd time now and as long as my lung does not deflate even more in the next 48 hours at least I can go home. I have never known pain like this and would never wish it on anyone. It is actually really scary because most people have recovered in at least half the time I have been here so who knows how long this will last and what the end result will be. My last words; live your life and regret nothing. Spend as much time with your family as possible. One day it will be too late.

Comment from: Muti Tsk, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: December 03

I recently had a spontaneous pneumothorax (three weeks ago). It happened when I was walking on the street. I had no battery to call an ambulance so I ended up walking for an hour and half. When I got home I called the emergency and I was rushed to the hospital. They told me I had a collapsed lung (the smallest lung they ever saw as they told me). I spent one week with two drains stuck to my lung. My lung did not go back to normal so they decided to operate (VATS), and another week of the worst pain I ever experienced. I am back home now and I keep getting stabbing pain. I really hope I am not getting another pneumothorax again. I wish all of you reading this post the best and a fast recovery!

Comment from: Yvette, Female (Patient) Published: December 03

I was experiencing back ache for two weeks prior to finding out I had pneumothorax. I went to the emergency room (ER) and was told I might have a kidney infection (wrong diagnosis). I went home and after another two weeks went by and I couldn’t stand the pain, I went back to a patient first clinic. There the doctor ordered x-ray and that was when they found out I had pneumothorax. I was rushed to the ER and admitted. A chest tube was placed and left on my right side lung for 3 days and that didn't drain anything from my lungs so I was then operated on, and they had to scrape out the infection on my right side lung. It's been two weeks and all I can think is if this will happen again. I am scared and afraid to even leave my house in fear of getting sick again. I don't wish this on my worst enemy.

Comment from: dacia, 0-2 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 02

When my baby was about nine month she suffered from a collapsed lung where she had to do a major surgery and had to get two chest tubes. Doctors says she could have died. She was breathing way too hard and had coughing and vomiting. She was in the hospital for about a month, had the surgery for pneumothorax and was out. My daughter is a year and two months now and is doing really good; no one can tell that she was badly sick.

Comment from: maher, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

I just got out of the hospital 2 days ago after recovery from pneumothorax. Apparently I had my lung slowly collapsing for about a month, I ignored as I thought it was maybe shortness of breath since I am a smoker, and it will go away. Nope, it did not, so I went to the hospital to get x-ray and sure enough 70 percent of the right lung had got deflated. The doctor who was a great doctor, performed the tubing, with Novocain, and all this was the most painful process I experienced. I literally felt the tube going through every layer. The hospital staff was great and the doctor just phenomenal, it's just the whole thing is darn ugly and after you are about to leave the hospital after 4 days of exposing your body parts to everybody with a gown, they tell you there is a 50/50 chance of it happening again. Yeah, exciting.

Comment from: Lyn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 07

I had breast cancer in July 2014, then I had radiation. I was not feeling very well, had a lot of back pain and in my joints. On my 19th visit to have radiation I came home, and in the evening I started vomiting and the pain in the lower part on the right side of my back was pain I never experienced. I went to the doctors the next morning and they rang an ambulance. I was taken to the hospital and had MRI scans and my right lung had collapsed; they thought I had cancer in my right lung but that wasn't the case, it was pneumothorax. I don't remember much, only that they cut the top part of my back and drained fluid. I didn't feel a thing as I was on pretty strong medication. On Tuesday I had a 5 hour operation on my lung, as I also had pneumonia. It was a slow recovery and I am pain tolerant but after that surgery I became a bit of a sook. I stopped the radiation immediately and stayed in hospital for 2 weeks. They glued my lung to my chest. It has now been 7 months and I'm feeling not bad, but it sometimes can be painful on my right side.

Comment from: Brian, Male (Patient) Published: June 11

As a teen I had both of my lungs collapse several times spontaneously. Sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between muscular pain in my chest and a pneumothorax. The test I developed to tell if I had a collapsed lung was to lean forward at the waist. If my lung was collapsed, I could feel the air bubble between the lung and the top of the chest cavity move as I bend over and straightened up again. Eventually I ended getting the thin parts of both lungs stapled to seal them off, then no more problems after that.

Comment from: Alice B., RN (ER), 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 28

I was born with left lung defects secondary to my pop's exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. My lung collapsed due to a ruptured empyemic cyst. I wound up with tension pneumothorax with mediastinal shift. Two thoracotomy surgeries later, the entire left lung is gone (all at age 9). I went on to develop heart failure (age 34) due to my system being strained for so long. I am now 42 years old and managing ok! I still have significant left sided pain due to the formation of all the scar tissue. It frequently aches and movement on that left side is somewhat limited, but that hasn't stopped me from practicing my yoga! But you just have to keep going and do what you can! In my eyes, we are all warriors!

Comment from: Honey, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

It is the doctor's guess that my pneumothorax occurred during a 3.5 hour overseas flight. As we were staying with friends and didn't want to spoil the holiday, I didn't say anything about (or do anything about) the symptoms which were breathlessness during any exertion, pain in the shoulder and ribs and the frightening fact that, if I lay on my right side, I could not breathe at all. I also had a pain in my head unlike a normal dull headache. After 12 days of this, we made the return flight. I am told that it is a miracle that I survived it. Fourteen days after the first flight and onset of symptoms, I had an x-ray and was rushed to the emergency ward where a tube was inserted. It was removed 4 days later, which was 6 days ago. The pneumothorax has slowly decreased but has not disappeared to date. I have been told to take it easy for a month which I guess is the expected recovery time. I am not allowed to fly for 6 weeks and will never be able to scuba-dive, sky-dive or be a pilot, which, as a 63 year old female, I can live with!

Comment from: Kerry , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 16

I had a pneumothorax 3 years ago. Today I’ve been experiencing armpit pain on the same side. I also have severe COPD.

Comment from: Christine , 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 20

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax operation 5 months ago. I still get pain in my side where the tube and operation was, and in my back. I can cope with it but it is uncomfortable.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 21

I had a primary spontaneous pneumothorax repaired 7 years ago. I am finding it difficult to find information about how vulnerable those of us who have suffered with this are, in light of the corona. It seems with it being so rare there is little known about it. Any information/advice would be welcome. Thank you.

Comment from: Gina, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I had a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) 20 years ago. Now all of a sudden I’m getting a dull pain which escalates.

Comment from: patrick, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 11

I woke up yesterday and noticed a sharp pain on the left side of my chest when I moved a certain way, and a slight shortness of breath with simple activities. I can’t inhale deeply. I also have very little cough. Wondering if this is a partially collapsed lung/pneumothorax.

Comment from: Robinson, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: June 11

A chest tube was placed in my patient’s chest to remove fluid after pneumothorax. It took 12 days, and it was later confirmed he had lung cancer and had reached an advanced stage. After two weeks he started to have more pain all over his body from shoulder to his stomach and mostly back pain. He had to sit down to sleep most times. Every day is a different pain, even where the chest tube was inserted. His only treatment is painkillers and medication if there is any complication.

Comment from: Bobbyr, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

I had a pneumothorax about 12 years ago resulting from a slip on wet grass. I injured my right rib cage. Ten hours later, I rushed to the emergency room, believing I had had a heart attack, only to find out my right lung had collapsed. After numerous and persistent lung collapses while having a tube attached and removed, doctors determined that I had 25% damage. It was suggested that, although I had stopped smoking 16 years earlier, my lungs had already been destroyed by the time I stopped smoking. After 18 days in the hospital, surgery removed one quarter of my right lung as well a fist-size embolism in the middle of my right lung. Today, I suffer from recurring pains in my right side, probably from the large amount of scar tissue I developed. My only complaint is that the pain will never go away completely. I can tell you that I work out five days a week on free weights and have been doing so three months after my surgery without a recurrence. My complaint is that the pain to my right side still persists. When I ask doctors about it, they don't have a clue.

Comment from: chipUSMC, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: September 10

I was recently unfortunately able to experience a pneumothorax. I fell down some stairs, fracturing three ribs and collapsing my lung. When I got to the hospital, the lung was 20% collapsed. By the time I was seen, it had gotten to 75% collapsed. A chest tube was placed. A couple days later, I was released and went home. I had many problems in the days to come. The Percocet wasn’t enough to treat the pain. After going to the hospital a number of times, I was finally put on Dilaudid.

Comment from: KC, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I am still recovering from a spontaneous pneumothorax. I was home for six days with a tube in my chest, which was not fun. After that did not work, I went in for surgery where they removed a part of my lung and scuffed up my chest wall to re-stick the lung to the wall. Apparently, spontaneous pneumothorax can be hereditary. My dad, my brother, and I have all had it; the only difference was that I had it on my left side, and they had it on their right side. If you experience any symptoms, go to the ER right away!

Comment from: Kate, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I really would like to hear from others that have had surgery after having a lung collapse (pneumothorax). I just want to know how others are since surgery and how they are dealing with it. I had this happen to me only 3 weeks ago and I am scared and worried. Thank you

Comment from: nomorecollapsedlung, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 16

I was sitting down smoking. After a while felt a weird pain in my back. I got up to go take a shower right after and my body started acting weird and could not catch my breath. I saw doctor and was prescribed antibiotics and a steroid shot thinking it was upper respiratory infection or bronchitis. A week later, I was still hurting and not breathing went back to doctor. A week after that, I went back as I was not feeling better at all. The doctor sent me to get blood work for a blood clot and an X-ray. The X-ray tech said your lung is 100% collapsed and you need a chest tube quickly. I told them I’d been like this for two weeks now! I was rushed to the hospital where the chest tube was placed. I spent three nights in hospital and now it has been about four weeks since I got out. I have no problems. I was a long-time smoker since I was a teenager, but I haven't had a puff since right before I went in the hospital to do the X-ray! It was a terrible experience, but it got me to quit smoking!

Comment from: kevin, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: November 26

The pain was the worst I have ever suffered. I have had ruptured discs before but that pain was not as severe. I am slowly getting better two and a half months later and I am assured I will be back to normal health very soon.

Comment from: paula, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 18

I have just been released from hospital after having my fifth pneumothorax. After my third, I was operated on to stop this happening. My lung collapsed again about 10 days after the operation and now again 14months later. I have now had the talc put into my chest to see if this helps only doctors are not too optimistic. I do not fit the normal stereotype for pneumothorax, I am female, 5'2 and slightly overweight, never smoked or taken drugs.

Comment from: janlev, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I had a spontaneous pneumothorax two years ago. Unfortunately when I got to the ER, they thought I was having an anxiety attack and left me untreated for over two hours. When they finally X-rayed my chest, they saw my lung was collapsed. They had to insert the tube so quickly they couldn't give me any medicine for the pain. I had a chest tube in for eight days. Six months to the day later I had another one in the same lung and had 3/4 of my lung removed. I still experience pain and fatigue every day!!!

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 09

I had a pneumothorax back in June of 2009. I went to my doctor and he gave me some injections in my lower and upper back for my back pain and in the process, he punctured my lung with the needle. It was immediate pain that I can no t describe. I spent 5 long miserable days in the hospital with a chest tube inserted in my side. It was so uncomfortable. I often get small stabbing like pain along with a burning sensation in the area where the needle went in and it scares the life out of me that I'm going to end up with another pneumothorax. Needless to say, I don't ever want to see another needle again in my life. And not to mention, the doctor that did this to me that I had been seeing for a number of years has never even contacted me to see if I had even survived!

Comment from: crappygenetics, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 04

I have a simple small pneumothorax. I have had chest and back pain for months. The only external symptom I have had is swelling in my right breast and back. I figured that I might have another pulmonary embolism (I had one 8 years ago), so my Dr. ordered a chest x-ray. When I asked her which side, she wouldn't tell, said "not a big deal" I disagree. Steroids helped. I'm good at self diagnosis. It IS a big deal, hurts plenty and makes me really feel tired. I finally got part of this problem figured out. I just need to remember that nausea and lung problems can go together.

Comment from: Nagarjun, 19-24 Male Published: January 11

It was a unfortunate Sunday where spontaneous pneumothorax (collapse of right lung) occurred when I was just sitting in front of my computer without doing any hard/physical work. I was unable to breathe for about 10min and with terrific pain in the chest. I was able to take breathe slowly as time passed with cough and pain still remained. The next day I consulted a doctor, and he referred me to immediately consult a pulmonologist. He immediately told me to admit to the hospital so that they can start the treatment. They made a one-inch hole, put a chest pipe in, to remove the negative air into sachet which contained water in it. I suffered with back bone pain for two full days. Later, my right lung came to its original size and doctor suggested me 1month of rest. The important thing is I don’t smoke and drink and there was no single reason left behind for the cause of this drastic incident.

Comment from: nikaye, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 04

I had my lung collapse two times back in November. I was the in the hospital for three days the first time with a chest tube, and the second time, I had to have surgery to stick my lung to the chest wall to keep it from collapsing again. I am still in pain from it, so I don’t want it to happen again. I worry about that every day. I know to doctors it’s as simple as getting dressed, but for me it’s life-changing.

Comment from: julie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I suffered a pneumothorax 14 years ago when I was 23. I am now 37 and touch wood it has not happened again. I have never smoked or taken any drugs, but I am tall and thin. Now and again when I am feeling unwell and tired I do get mild symptoms of the pain and think “not again,” but then after rest, it has eased off.

Comment from: Buster, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

My father just had a pneumothorax driving home from the hospital where he was asking his doctor about some spots on his chest X-ray. He had to go to the ER at another hospital about 40 minutes away closer to his home. He walked in and passed out in the ER. They didn't put a chest tube in for an hour thinking that he had a heart attack. He was brain dead from lack of oxygen to the brain and passed away a week later. Go to a good hospital if you get a pneumothorax.

Comment from: 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: November 18

I had pneumothorax happen to me 3 times. 1. I was in the shower and lifted my arm and sudden pains to my chest. I sat down only to be more short of breath and weakened by the pain. I went to hospital to be placed on oxygen for 6 hours and then released with recovering results. 2. I was sitting at my computer and suddenly I couldn't breathe. This time, I went a step further with them putting a tube in to suck the air out of my side. After an overnight stay, I was released with hopes that I wouldn't return. 3. Sitting at my computer again when suddenly struck with the pain. I didn't wish to go back to hospital so soon, as it has only been about a month since I was there last. I returned to hospital as the pain was too much. This time I went a further step with receiving oxygen, the tube, then had the surgery that kept me in hospital for 1.5 weeks with the tube in my side for that time. I did not know whether or not I was to recover as the pain was clearly still present. This was around 2 months ago and I hope to never see this problem again.

Comment from: dkmsd, 0-2 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 04

Both of my children were born with pneumothoraxes. My son, first, with both of lungs completely collapsed and he had to stay in the hospital a week under an oxygen saucer. My daughter, second, (14 months later) with one lung partially collapsed. They still have no idea why it happened to either of them and now at 2 and 3 years old they both started having problems with asthma. We are worried about bigger problems popping up now.

Comment from: Fullchoke, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 20

I have had no less than 10 pheumothoraxes in the last 14 years, sometimes having up to 3 in one year. My left lung has always collapsed at night while sleeping. As soon as I awake, I know "due to the pain". It feels like there is something large and heavy rubbing against my chest wall, and breathing can be painful but for me taking shallow breaths did help. Depending how bad the pain was, I usually ended up in the hospital other times. I have rested at home in bed for about a week taking pain killers. I had key-hole surgery five years ago, which I thought had done the trick, but unfortunately I had three pneumothoraxes in the last 13 months.

Comment from: cuerdley, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I had the very nasty experience of a spontaneous pneumothorax about 6 weeks ago. I would not wish the pain I went through on my worst enemy. Having that drain in my side is a pain only another sufferer could understand! I was 3 days with the drain in my left side and still feel that I have not yet fully recovered although I have now returned to work (no physical work yet). I have no idea what caused it but have been told that it could happen again. I would anything on Earth to avoit it.

Comment from: A Dolan, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 07

I had spontaneous pneumothorax. (I woke up, coughed and it went downhill from there!) I just got back from the hospital after being there 6 days.I had a drain put into me to release the air from around the lung as the first needle did not release enough air. In the end it became infected, hence the resaon I was in absolute agony with it for 5 days. This was not a nice experience at all and would never want this to happen to my worst enemy. It was that bad.

Comment from: MAR, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I had a pneumothorax during an interventional radiology procedure to place a port-catheter for chemotherapy. It wasn't big ("7%"), but it hurt a lot. The doctor placed a thin tube; 6 days and 5 xrays later it wasn't much better; he moved the tube, suctioned some air and sent me home again. The next day he said it was resolved and took the tube out. The tube itself was very painful for 2-3 days when it was placed, then again when it was moved. Intermittent neck swelling also resulted from air movement. After the tube came out (one week ago), I continue to have jabbing pains in my chest. I was relieved to read on this website that, "Some scarring to the pleura develops after treatment and can result in intermittent, sharp, localized, chest pain over the short term." I look forward to this pain going away altogether so I can finally calm down.

Comment from: 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I have had my lung collasped 5 times. The first 3 times were minor ones were I needed strong pain meds. By the 4th time I needed a chest tube which is one of the most uncomfortable things to have. The tube sticks out of the side of your chest right below the armpit next to the boob. Its hooked up to a machine and you can see the "fluid"-blood draning out. You can only be unhooked from the machine for about 20 minutes. When you have to go to the bathroom a nurse has to come in and unhook it and rehook it up when you're done. Not even a month later of having the chest tube my lung collasped the 5th time in which I needed lung surgery. A bubble was forming around my lung which needed to be removed and after sugury I needed the chest tube again. 18 years sucked.

Comment from: STEACKMAN, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 03

I am currently in the hospital with a spontaneous pneumothorax. I woke up at 9:00am on Sat w/ sharp pain and could not breathe very well. Went into the emergency room at 10:00am and at 2:30 had a chest tube put in now 5 days later still have the tube and a few small blebs, chance of possible surgery but hoping that the pneumothorax closes with the suction that has been on and off for the last 5 days. If you should get pain and shortness of breath PLEASE GO TO THE ER ASAP !

Comment from: lungs, Published: February 01

My family has a history of collapsed lungs and I currently have lung blebs. We were diagnosed with Birt Hogg Dube Syndrome (BHD) 2 yrs ago and it is a rare genetics disease and can only be found through blood tests. Collapsed lungs or Pneumothorax seem to be related to having BHD.

Comment from: 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: November 05

I am 26 and had a spontaneous collapse last year. I woke up, went to the toilet, felt a pain in my right shoulder blade which got worse in maybe 60 seconds. Within minutes I was curled up in a ball at the bottom of the stairs in agony calling an ambulance. Shallow breaths helped, but it was the worst pain I ever experienced. Days earlier I had started to get bouts of dizziness which disappeared afterwards, prior to the collapse my doctor told me the dizziness was vertigo. I think he was wrong, dizziness can also be due to a lack of oxygen! However I fit the bill for the condition as I am tall, thin to medium build, under 30 years, ex smoker and I had used cocaine in my past, maybe I should have saw it coming. Anyway six days in hospital on a drain and one year later it hasn’t happened again, and please god it won’t. I hope someone can benefit from my story.

Comment from: jlg, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I just got back from the hospital where I was earlier today. I went in thinking I was having a heart attack but was told it was a small (5%) spontaneous Pneumo. I was told to go easy for the next couple of weeks, but after reading what you all have gone through I definitely do not want this to get any worse. I am sure it would have progressed if I didn't go to the hospital and get a diagnosis. Lesson learned: go to the ER if you are in serious pain.

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