Arizona residents should be aware that if they sustain trauma to their chest, it could cause a collapsed lung. The collapse of a lung, or pneumothorax, occurs when a buildup of air that has leaked into the area between the chest wall and lung begins to exert pressure on the lung, causing it to collapse. In many instances, only a portion of the lung will collapse.
A collapsed lung is unable to fully expand as it should when an individual attempts to breathe in and can cause chest pain and a shortness of breath. A severely collapsed lung can result in cardiac arrest, low levels of blood oxygen, shock and respiratory failure. If it is not immediately and properly addressed, it can be fatal.
The traumatic events that can cause a collapsed lung may include a bullet wound, knife injury, rib fracture or hard blow to the chest. A pneumothorax can also be caused by a lung biopsy, forceful CPR or endoscopy procedures.
Lung tissue that has been weakened and damaged from a medical condition can also lead to a collapsed lung. Pneumonia, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis and sarcoidosis can all be indirect causes of pneumothorax.
A sharp pain in the chest that worsens during coughing may be the first indication of a collapsed lung. If a significant portion of the lung is affected, the symptoms may include a sensation of tightness in the chest, bluish skin tone, rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure.
Individuals whose pneumothorax is not properly identified by a doctor may be a victim of medical malpractice. A personal injury attorney may pursue damages against the liable parties, including hospitals, for a worsened condition, delayed or improper treatment or death that results from the misdiagnosis.