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How is pneumothorax diagnosed?

The history and physical examination alone can sometimes make the diagnosis. A physical examination can usually confirm the diagnosis if the pneumothorax is large. Doctor will check for normal breathing sounds by listening to the patient’s chest with a stethoscope. A chest x-ray shows the air pocket and the collapsed lung outlined by the thin inner pleural layer. A chest x-ray can also show if the trachea (the large airway that passes through the front of the neck) is being pushed to one side because of a collapsed lung. If tension pneumothorax is suspected, an electrocardiogram (ECG) lets the doctor see the rate and rhythm of the heart. A test called an arterial blood gas is also used to check a blood sample for oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.

More information on pneumothorax

What is a pneumothorax? - A pneumothorax is collection of air or gas in the pleural space (the space surrounding the lungs). Pneumothorax is commonly called collapsed lung.
What causes a pneumothorax? - Pneumothorax is usually caused by an injury to the chest, such as a broken rib or puncture wound. Spontaneous pneumothorax can result from damage to the lungs.
What're the symptoms of pneumothorax? - Symptoms of a pneumothorax vary greatly depending on how much air enters the pleural space, how much of the lung collapses.
How is pneumothorax diagnosed? - The history and physical examination can sometimes make the diagnosis of pneumothorax. A physical examination can confirm the diagnosis.
What's the treatment for a pneumothorax? - The objective of treatment for pneumothorax is to remove the air from the pleural space, allowing the lung to re-expand.
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