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What is pneumothorax of the lung

Pneumothorax (from the Greek “pneuma” – air and “thorax” – chest) – this is a pathology, consisting in the fact that air accumulates in the pleural cavity.

Little anatomy
In order to better understand the mechanism of development of pneumothorax, it is necessary to imagine the anatomy of the lungs.

The pleura is the shell in which every lung is enclosed. We can say that the lung is surrounded by a kind of bag. In turn, the pleura is formed by two so-called leaves: visceral, or pulmonary, which is spliced ​​with lung tissue, and parietal, external. Both leaves at the bottom of the lung root are joined. The space between them is the pleural cavity. It contains serous fluid that facilitates the movement of the lungs during the act of breathing. The pressure in the pleural cavity is maintained negative.

Lung collapse
When air enters the cavity for any reason, the pressure in it rises and the lung subsides. There is a collapse: the affected part of the lung stops performing its functions. In addition, blood vessels are compressed, impairing blood circulation in the lung. The condition is dangerous to human life.

Types and causes of pneumothorax
Air can enter the pleural cavity due to mechanical damage or due to diseases associated with the respiratory system.

Mechanical causes include:

injuries. These can be lung damage or open wounds;
damage during medical procedures (iatrogenic damage);
artificial pneumothorax, which is created in the treatment of tuberculosis or to stop pulmonary hemorrhage.
a complication of bullous lung disease – rupture of air bubbles;
abscess, lung gangrene;
ruptured caverns for tuberculosis;
lung cancer, sarcoma.
Smoking can cause pneumothorax and other diseases.
Pneumothorax, which occurs without any reason, is also distinguished: primary spontaneous pneumothorax. Young (from 20 to 30 years old) smoking men, who are tall, are most often affected by it, and the trigger mechanism can be a strong cough, excessive physical exertion, plane flight, and diving. In this case, the cause is considered the congenital weakness of the pleura.

There are also pneumothorax closed (pleural cavity does not communicate with the atmosphere), open air (through the wound freely enters and leaves the cavity) and valve (air enters the cavity, but does not leave it).

Manifestations of pneumothorax
Pneumothorax can manifest itself in different ways, it depends on its cause, severity of the pathology, existing complications, etc. The most characteristic signs include:

chest pain – it can be of different intensity, from very strong to tolerable, it increases with inhalation; more often, pain is acute first, then it becomes dull or dull;
feeling short of breath;
shortness of breath – it appears suddenly and sharply, breathing becomes quicker;
paroxysmal cough without sputum;
lower blood pressure;
weakness, fear, feeling of panic;
blue skin.
Lack of air
Consequences of pneumothorax
They develop in almost half of all patients. Most often there is pleurisy – inflammation of the pleura. It can be exudative, with effusion into the cavity, or purulent – pus is collected in the pleura. It is also dangerous and bleeding from the pleura, causing hemorrhagus (blood in the pleural cavity).

Another dangerous complication of pneumothorax is the so-called rigid lung, the formation of connective tissue in place of the lung, as a result, it loses its elasticity and the lungs cease to function.

The most dangerous consequence of this pathology is acute respiratory failure.

With the development of pneumothorax of any kind, treatment in a hospital is necessary. As a rule, if medical measures are carried out correctly and on time, full recovery occurs.

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