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Collapsed Lung

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Summary

A collapsed lung happens when air enters the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. If it is a total collapse, it is called pneumothorax. If only part of the lung is affected, it is called atelectasis.

Causes of a collapsed lung include

  • Lung diseases such as pneumonia or lung cancer
  • Being on a breathing machine
  • Surgery on the chest or abdomen
  • A blocked airway

If only a small area of the lung is affected, you may not have symptoms. If a large area is affected, you may feel short of breath and have a rapid heart rate.

A chest x-ray can tell if you have it. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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