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Collapsed lung

  • Alternative Names

    Air around the lung; Air outside the lung; Pneumothorax; Spontaneous pneumothorax


    Almost everyone who has a collapsed lung has the following symptoms:

    • Sharp chest pain, made worse by a deep breath or a cough
    • Shortness of breath

    A larger pneumothorax will cause more severe symptoms, including:

    • Chest tightness
    • Easy fatigue
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Bluish color of the skin caused by lack of oxygen

    Note: Symptoms may begin during rest or sleep.

    Other symptoms that can occur with a collapsed lung include:

    • Nasal flaring
    • Low blood pressure (hypotension)

    Signs and tests

    There are decreased or no breath sounds on the affected side when heard through a stethoscope.

    Tests include:

    • Chest x-ray to tell whether there is air outside the lung
    • Arterial blood gases