Treatment for Pneumothorax- General Surgery, Pulmonary And Respiratory Medicine
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A pneumothorax is an abnormal collection of air in the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall. Symptoms typically include sudden onset of sharp, one-sided chest pain and shortness of breath
The treatment of pneumothorax depends on a number of factors, and may vary from discharge with early follow-up to immediate needle decompression or insertion of a chest tube. Treatment is determined by the severity of symptoms and indicators of acute illness, the presence of underlying lung disease, the estimated size of the pneumothorax on X-ray, and – in some instances – on the personal preference of the person involved.
In traumatic pneumothorax, chest tubes are usually inserted. If mechanical ventilation is required, the risk of tension pneumothorax is greatly increased and the insertion of a chest tube is mandatory. Any open chest wound should be covered with an airtight seal, as it carries a high risk of leading to tension pneumothorax. Ideally, a dressing called the "Asherman seal" should be utilized, as it appears to be more effective than a standard "three-sided" dressing. The Asherman seal is a specially designed device that adheres to the chest wall and, through a valve-like mechanism, allows air to escape but not to enter the chest.
Tension pneumothorax is usually treated with urgent needle decompression. This may be required before transport to the hospital, and can be performed by an emergency medical technician or other trained professional. The needle or cannula is left in place until a chest tube can be inserted. If tension pneumothorax leads to cardiac arrest, needle decompression is performed as part of resuscitation as it may restore cardiac output.