What is the difference between an open pneumothorax and a tension pneumothorax?
Pneumothorax (air in the pleural cavity) is classified as open (external wound) or closed. The pleural pressure equilibrates with atmospheric pressure, resulting in lung collapse. Tension pneumothorax develops when air continuously enters the chest without evacuation.
What are the two types of pneumothorax?
The two basic types of pneumothorax are traumatic pneumothorax and nontraumatic pneumothorax. Either type can lead to a tension pneumothorax if the air surrounding the lung increases in pressure.
Can a spontaneous pneumothorax turn into a tension pneumothorax?
Both spontaneous and traumatic pneumothorax can evolve into tension pneumothorax, which is a life-threatening condition that can lead to significant respiratory distress and hemodynamic instability.
What causes an open pneumothorax?
An open pneumothorax occurs when air accumulates between the chest wall and the lung as the result of an open chest wound or other physical defect. The larger the opening, the greater the degree of lung collapse and difficulty of breathing.
What is the best treatment for an open pneumothorax?
Immediate management of open pneumothorax is to cover the wound with a rectangular sterile occlusive dressing that is closed securely with tape on only 3 sides. Thus, the dressing prevents atmospheric air from entering the chest wall during inspiration but allows any intrapleural air out during expiration.
When does a pneumothorax become a tension pneumothorax?
A tension pneumothorax occurs when the patient cannot compensate, and several events begin to occur that can lead to death. As air fills the pleural space on inspiration through the opening with an open pneumothorax, the wound can act as a one-way valve and not allow the air to exit.
How painful is a pneumothorax?
The typical symptom is a sharp, stabbing pain on one side of the chest, which suddenly develops. The pain is usually made worse by breathing in (inspiration). You may become breathless. As a rule, the larger the pneumothorax, the more breathless you become.
What 3 sided dressing?
Classically, an occlusive dressing is applied and adhered to the chest on three sides with the dependent portion open to allow for blood and air to escape the wound.