Tension pneumothorax

Case contributed by Jack Garnham


Sudden onset shortness of breath and pleuritic chest pain.

Patient Data

Age: 25 years
Gender: Male



There is a massive right-sided tension pneumothorax with almost total collapse of the right lung and shift of the mediastinal structures to the left.

Case Discussion

Tension pneumothorax occurs when intrapleural air accumulates progressively in such a way as to exert positive pressure on mediastinal and intrathoracic structures. It is a life-threatening occurrence requiring both rapid recognition and prompt treatment to avoid a cardiorespiratory arrest.

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