Tension pneumothorax: pre and post drainage

Case contributed by Ian Bickle
Diagnosis certain


Sudden shortness of breath. No air entry on the right side of the chest.

Patient Data

Age: 30
Gender: Male

Large right sided pneumothorax, with a deep sulcus sign (supine projection).

The heart and mediastinal structures are displaced to the left.

Pleural drain inserted.


Right basal pleural drain.

Small residual apical pneumothorax.

Case Discussion

A small percentage of pneumothoraces are under tension. These are truly life threatening and merits urgent medical intervention.

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