Spontaneous Pneumothorax

This can occurs in individuals with no known lung disease, most often tall and thin males between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. There are two types of Spontaneous Pneumothrax, primary and secondary. In primary Spontaneous Pneumothrax, there is no history of known lung disease and in secondary it occurs in the presence of another lung disease such as COPD.

What is spontaneous pneumothrax?

It is a sudden collection of air or gas in the chest that causes lungs to collapse without serious injury.


Spontaneous Pneumothrax is caused by a sudden rupture of a bleb or cyst in the lungs.


Symptoms include chest pain on the side of the rupture, shortness of breath, cough, abnormal breathing movement and rapid respiratory rate.


Treatment is dependent upon size and cause. A small Spontaneous Pneumothrax will often fix itself on its own. Large pneumothrax require needle aspiration or a chest tube. The objective of treatment is to remove the air from around the lungs, allowing the lung to re-expand. Small lung collapses may get better without any treatment. Re-expansion of the lung may take several days and hospitalization is required. Patients should stop smoking and avoid high altitudes, scuba diving, or flying in unpressurized aircraft to prevent pneumothorax from recurring.