Description Medical Pneumothorax with CC

Pneumothorax occurs when there is an accumulation of air in the pleural space. Pneumothorax increases intrapleural pressure, thus resulting in the collapse of the lung on the affected side. There are three major types of pneumothorax: spontaneous, traumatic, and tension. Spontaneous pneumothorax is not life-threatening. Traumatic pneumothorax can also be classified as either open (when atmospheric air enters the pleural space) or closed (when air enters the pleural space from the lung). Open traumatic pneumothorax constitutes a life-threatening emergency.

The pleural space between the visceral and the parietal pleura exerts negative pressure, which creates a vacuum that keeps the lungs from collapsing. If air accumulates, however, the pressure rises, thus leading to atelectasis (collapsed lung) and ineffective gas exchange. When the air in the pleural space cannot escape, tension pneumothorax occurs. If air accumulation is not stopped, the entire mediastinum shifts toward the unaffected side, thus causing bilateral lung collapse, which is a life-threatening condition. Tension pneumothorax can lead to shock, low blood pressure, and cardiopulmonary arrest.

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