Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by sammich, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
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    Sarcasmville.
    #1
    I'm surprised there isn't a thread on this. There's one for everything from nasal control of your iPhone to the Balance of God and evil.

    Onto the topic. A spontaneous pneumothorax (collapsed lung) is like an ordinary pneumothorax except that it occurs without trauma/injury to the chest. People like myself: tall and thin are most prone to get this problem, the primary form is caused by a 'bleb' (imperfection) in the wall of the lung when bursts, causing air to leak into the outer layer of the lungs (pleura).

    My first SP one occurred about 6 years ago, watching TV on the couch when all of a sudden a sharp pain ripped into one side of my chest and it was immediately hard to breathe. I had absolutely no clue what was up (I was a perfectly healthy 16 yo back then). So my mum drove me to the hospital and they concluded it was a collapsed lung. They sent me back home for the night and to return in the morning for a x-ray and for proper exam. I spent that rough night trying to sleep sitting on a big sofa chair.

    Next morning I get in to the hospital, get x-rayed, the Doc confirmed it was a collapsed lung and my build made me a primary candidate for SP's. So about 30-40 minutes after I arrived at the hospital, they got me in for a quick procedure to put in chest tube into my right side.

    You can't sleep with a chest tube in. The next three nights were pretty long.

    That was by far the worst. Over the following years, it didn't stop me from playing sports, but I used SP as an excuse to get out of some compulsory events in high school :p.

    Anyway, the reason I'm writing is because I'm staying up late doing an assignment (approaching 4am here) and all of a sudden get a pretty bad SP, worst I've had for 4 years one which I went to Hospital for. This one is slowly going away now, and I've taken my first pain free deep breath for the last 30 minutes, when I started writing this post.


    Anyone else have similar experiences?


    For some info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumothorax
     
  2. Xavier macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
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    Columbus
    #2
    I have had a different experience with Pneumothorax.

    I am a Trombonist and after a show I had a hard time breathing and had a sharp pain every time I tried to breath in.

    I went to the hospital and it was determined that I had small punctures in my lung and air was escaping through it into my upper chest/neck area. It basically felt like bubble wrap in my shoulder area.

    It was hard to sleep and also eat because it was hard to swallow. I didn't have to have a chest tube because the doctor said it would heal on its own. That was a terrible experience.
     
  3. sammich thread starter macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
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    #3
    So that was a once off event? How long after were you able to go back to playing the Trombone? I just find it curious that something like that could happen without the possibility of happening again.

    And I share your pain. That second time I had a bad one I was terrified I'd have to spend more sleepless nights in a hospital.
     
  4. fireshot91 macrumors 601

    fireshot91

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    Location:
    Northern VA
    #4
    I really sympathize for both of you.


    Luckily, (And sort of unluckily, since I don't have any stories to tell :p) I haven't been hospitalized for anything other than a virus that kept my fever above 104 for about two days straight. And even if it did come down, it would go back up in a couple of hours.
     
  5. MOFS macrumors 65816

    MOFS

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    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #5
    :eek: I'm a (junior) doctor in the UK and we X-ray everyone immediately who has a suspected pneumothorax - unless they are about to die in which case we just insert a drain asap. Tension pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition, and the best way to ascertain the severity of any pneumothorax is chest X-ray.
     
  6. sammich thread starter macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #6
    Yeah, I'll admit the details are a little hazy, it did happen a long time ago, and I wasn't in the best place mentally :) Not sure how the doctor (funny thing is that this guy was actually a friend of my sister's who did their rural rotation at my hospital so I guess I was in good hands.
     
  7. Xavier macrumors 68020

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    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus
    #7
    It seems to be a one time deal. And it probably was related to Trombone.

    But nonetheless, it happened and it took me about 1 1/2 weeks before I felt completely back to normal. I would not rule out that it might not happen again, but I hope it doesn't.

    The bubble wrap shoulder feeling was painful
     
  8. sammich thread starter macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
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    #8
    So how long has it been since?

    1.5 weeks is pretty long, especially with the eating thing (I love eating).

    I think I'd prefer my situation (still right now, a sharp pain at the bottom of my right lung) instead of physical feeling of having an air pocket in my shoulder.
     
  9. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #9
    A couple of pedantic corrections (sorry!):

    Pneumothorax is air in the chest between the lungs and the inside of the chest wall. You can have a collapsed lung because of other things (e.g. fluid or pus in the chest) so they aren't actually the same thing. Pneumothorax does cause a collapsed lung though.

    The pleura are the membranes lining the chest, they're not really part of the lungs. The air leaks into the pleural cavity, which is the area between the layer of pleura covering the lungs and the layer of pleura covering the inside of the chest wall. The pleura cavity is technically outside the lungs. ;)

    I'd go and get yourself checked out ASAP. The air won't just go away (well, it will, but over a long time) and more might accumulate which could be pretty nasty. Get thee to the doctors ASAP.

    /me hopes OP isn't slumped over his keyboard going blue
     
  10. sammich thread starter macrumors 601

    sammich

    Joined:
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    Sarcasmville.
    #10
    I'd do the same in a reverse situation :)

    Thanks for clearing it up. In first SP and the subsequent hospital stay, I had to cough as hard as I could a few times every hour or to clear out fluid (includes blood) from wherever the tube was placed into. I remember a nurse told me not to worry the first time I coughed and looked at the tube, because it looks like a crap load of blood, but is really just bloody fluid. Mostly fluid.

    Back to that second time I decided I could play a social game of soccer on a teeny SP. I went to hospital, had an x-ray but they said it wasn't bad, so they sent me home with some painkillers. I didn't even open the box, the discomfort went away completely after a few hours.

    So I'm hoping what I'm feeling is going away asap similarly. This assignment is due in about 5 hours (LOL), group work as well, so I need to get everyone's parts incorporated into the report when I get there.

    Not quite blue. But zero sleep on the clock isn't friendly. :D
     
  11. Xavier macrumors 68020

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    Columbus
    #11
    It's been just about 3 years.
     
  12. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #12
    Aptly timed thread. A good friend of mine just had one of these a couple of weeks ago, he seemed okay but I've not heard from him after he went in for an xray to see if it was all cleared up. Before that I'd never heard of/seen one before! Although a doc once thought I had one (had an xray to check and all was okay).
     
  13. deftdrummer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego
    #13
    I am currently suffering through what I believe to be a Spontaneous Pneumothorax. It started yesterday after I had smoked my third cigarette for the day. I am tall and thin, 6'4" and 165 lbs so I definitely fit into the tall an thin category that this usually affects.

    I have been smoking since I was about 22 so only about 5 years but kind of heavy. Anyways, needless to say that this feeling in my chest has made me quit cold turkey starting the second this Pneumothorax started.

    I haven't been to the doctor but both my parents are nurses, and I don't have health insurance right now. So based on their advice and how I currently feel I am going to watch it closely and see if it goes away on it's own since this is my first occurrence.

    I was very scared when it first started happening and I thought I was having a heart attack, but there is no cardiac history in my family.

    I can honestly tell you this is the worst thing I have ever suffered through in my life and so help me god I will never smoke another cigarette for the rest of my life.
     

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