Christopher Schwarzenegger Injured in Boogie Board Accident

People magazine is reporting that 13 year-old Christopher Schwarzenegger, was injured in a boogie board accident on Sunday and has been in the intensive care unit since that time. Christopher was at a Malibu beach when he sustained his injuries, which included a collapsed lung, broken bones and broken ribs. His mother, Maria Shriver, was on the beach at the time of the accident:

“Christopher has been in ICU since Sunday,” a source told People. “Maria has not left his side and is sleeping at hospital.”

Christopher’s dad, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also been at the hospital. No details about his current condition have been released.

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.

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

A small pneumothorax may go away on its own. You may only need oxygen and rest. A doctor may use a needle to pull the extra air out from around the lung so it can expand more fully.

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 about pneumothorax, click here.

Christopher is going to need the full support of both his parents during his recovery. Hopefully they will be able to put any issues surrounding their recent divorce on the back burner during this difficult time.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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