Tori Spelling’s husband, actor Dean McDermott,43, was hospitalized Tuesday after a motorcycle accident. He was originally admitted to the intensive care unit with a punctured and collapsed lung. He is apparently doing better now and has been moved out of the ICU. Thursday night he was able to send out a Twitter message:
“I ended [up] smashing my chest into my bars as I went over the front of the bike. It was a freak accident. Oh, and [I have] 3 stitches in my right butt cheek where a stone got imbedded. Let’s just say, I wont be dirt biking anymore.”
A collapsed lung, or pneumothorax, is the collection of air in the space around the lungs. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand as much as it normally does when you take a breath.
Risk factors for a pneumothorax include lung diseases, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), tuberculosis, and cystic fibrosis. Surgery or a chest injury also may cause a pneumothorax. You can also develop a pneumothorax without having a recognized lung disease or chest injury. This is called a spontaneous pneumothorax. Smoking increases your risk of spontaneous pneumothorax. Having a family history of the condition also increases your risk.
What are the Symptoms of a Pneumothorax?
Almost everyone who has a collapsed lung has the following symptoms:
- Sharp chest pain, made worse by a deep breath or a cough
- Shortness of breath
A larger pneumothorax will cause more severe symptoms, including:
- Chest tightness
- Easy fatigue
- Rapid heart rate
- Bluish color of the skin caused by lack of oxygen
Other symptoms that can occur with a collapsed lung include:
- Nasal flaring
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
A small pneumothorax may go away on its own. You may only need oxygen and rest. The health care provider may use a needle to pull the extra air out from around the lung so it can expand more fully. You may be allowed to go home if you live near the hospital.
If you have a large pneumothorax, a chest tube will be placed between the ribs into the space around the lungs to help drain the air and allows the lung to re-expand.
The chest tube can be left in place for several days. You must stay in the hospital while the chest tube is in place.
Some patients with a collapsed lung need extra oxygen, which helps the air around the lung be reabsorbed more quickly.
For more information, check out our our Resounding Health CaseBook™ on the topic.