If you have been diagnosed with pneumothorax, you may wish to ask your doctor these additional four questions:
1. My sister has just been diagnosed with this. What line of treatment will be given to her for pneumothorax?
The line of treatment taken up depends upon factors such as a physical examination performed by the doctor, her medical history, any underlying medical condition that may have caused the collapse of the lung, and the results of the diagnostic tests showing the type, extent, cause and size of the pneumothorax. In general, the following treatments are followed for the types mentioned below:
• Small and simple pneumothorax – Simple observation and monitoring, including observation through X-rays and administration of oxygen.
• Tension pneumothorax – The trapped air is released through the insertion of a thin needle to allow for the reduction of external pressure on the lung and re-inflation of the lung back to its size. Thoracocentesis may also be performed to relieve the intra-thoracic pressure.
• Large pneumothorax – These are treated with a procedure called tube thoracostomy or chest tube where the tube inserted in the chest wall after anesthetizing it and then using a valve to extract the air and promoting the re-expansion of the lung to normalcy.
• Chest wound pneumothorax (from an injury from a bullet, stab, etc.) – Such types of holes require immediate attention so that an occlusive dressing and pressure bandage that will create an air-tight covering with sterile and suitable material may be done. Chest drain and the support of mechanical ventilation is also needed in such cases.
• Large blister pneumothorax – When chest tubes prove ineffective a thoracoscopic surgery may be ordered where stapling of the leaking hole is done. It is also done to promote the adhesions between the lung and pleura. The adhesion promotion can also be achieved through injection of chemical irritants like talc or tetracycline or mechanically through abrasion of the pleura.
2. Will the treatment involve any invasive procedures?