Spontaneous Pneumothorax

Spontaneous pneumothorax is a sudden collection of air or gas in the chest that causes the lung to collapse in the absence of a traumatic injury to the chest or lung. Usually, a distinction is made between a spontaneous (primary) pneumothorax, and secondary (complicated) pneumothorax.


Spontaneous pneumothorax occurs in individuals with no known lung disease. It affects close to 9,000 persons in the United States each year- most often among tall, thin men between 20 and 40 years old. The cause of this type of pneumothorax is the rupture of a bleb or cyst in the lung.

Symptoms include:

* Chest pain on affected side
* Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
* Cough
* Abnormal breathing movement
* Rapid respiratory rate

Spontaneous pneumothorax is diagnosed by chest radiographs.

The way the condition is treated is dependant on its size and course. The objective of treatment is to remove the air from the pleural space, allowing the lung to reexpand. A small pneumothorax will resolve on its own in 1 to 2 weeks. Larger pneumothoraxes require either needle aspiration or a chest tube. Hospitalization is required for chest tube management as the reexpansion of the lung may take several days with the chest tube left in place. Surgery may be performed for a repeated episode to prevent recurrence.

– American Lung Association

That was the condition that afflicted me out of the blue a few weeks ago. Unknowingly, I had been walking around with a half-collapsed lung for possibly up to three weeks before i discovered the condition when i visited my GP last Tuesday. After that, everything happened in a flash and i ended up in hospital with a chest tube sticking out of my left chest. However, my first hospitalization ever was over within 2 days and i was relieved beyond anything to be able to get out of my bed, which i had been confined to for the past 48 hours due to the chest tube that was connected to a suction machine.

I would like to thank everyone who visited me during my short hospitalization. It really cheered me up to see so many people, especially when I was going through quite a bit of pain and needed to take my mind off it.

Anyway, i am really looking forward to having my stitches removed this thursday, exactly one week after i was discharged. After that, i can resume going out and meeting up with all my friends back in Singapore! =)

24. July 2007 by Han Sheng
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