A punctured lung arises if air builds up in the area amidst the 2 layers of tissue lining the lung. Once this occurs, pressure is placed on the lungs and prevents them from expanding.
What are the indications?
A punctured lung must be detected early so that prompt treatment can be started to prevent life-threatening complications.
If an individual sustained any form of chest trauma, it is vital to check for the following signs:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain that intensifies after coughing or deep breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Erratic breathing
- Chest tightness
- Pale or bluish skin due to lack of oxygen
An individual with a punctured lung usually feels tenderness of the chest. In most cases, the collapse occurs only on one side which is where the pain would manifest. In addition, the individual also has difficulty breathing.
Management of a punctured lung
The treatment is based on the seriousness of the trauma and damage to the lungs. For a minor case, it might heal on its own. In such cases, only oxygen and rest are necessary to fully recover. The doctor might also decide to release excess air around the lung by drawing it out via a needle to allow the air to fully expand.
For a serious case, a chest tube is inserted to assist with drainage. The chest tube helps with the drainage of air and to expand the lung. In serious cases, the tube is allowed to remain in place for several days before the chest starts to expand.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a punctured lung is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated by taking a standard first aid course with Ottawa First Aid.