Sunday, February 3, 2013

29 year old man with acute shortness of breath

This young man presented to the ED with acute shortness of breath.
This is an emergency. What is your diagnosis?
This is a pneumothorax.


Pneumothorax is defined as the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity (ie, the potential space between the visceral and parietal pleura of the lung). The clinical results are dependent on the degree of collapse of the lung on the affected side. Pneumothorax can impair oxygenation and/or ventilation. If the pneumothorax is significant, it can cause a shift of the mediastinum and compromise hemodynamic stability. Air can enter the intrapleural space through a communication from the chest wall (ie, trauma) or through the lung parenchyma across the visceral pleura.

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