Anatomy and physiology of Pneumothorax

Jun 18th, 2015
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Alabama State University
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Pneumothorax, or collapsed lung, is a potential medical emergency caused by accumulation of air or gas in the pleural cavity, occurring as a result of disease or injury, or spontaneously. The lungs are located inside the chest cavity, which is a hollow space. Air is drawn into the lungs by the diaphragm. The pleural cavity is the region between the chest wall and the lungs. If air enters the pleural cavity, either from the outside (open pneumothorax) or from the lung (closed pneumothorax), the lung collapses and it becomes mechanically impossible for the injured person to breathe, even with an open airway. If a piece of tissue forms a one-way valve that allows air to enter the pleural cavity from the lung but not to escape, overpressure can build up with every breath; this is known as tension pneumothorax. It may lead to severe shortness of breath as well as circulatory collapse, both life-threatening conditions. This condition requires urgent intervention.

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Anatomy and physiologyof PneumothoraxPleural CavityPleura The thin serous membrane around the lungsand inner walls of the chest.Parietal Pleura Pleura that lines the inner chest walls andcovers the diaphragm. (Outer pleura)Pleural Cavity Has 5 15 mL. Acts as lubricant thatallows the pleural surfaces to move withoutfriction.Visceral Pleura Pleura that covers the lungs. (Inner pleura)Mediastinum The space in the thoracic cavity behind thesternum and in between the two pleuralsacs (containing the lungs).DefinitionPneumothorax, or collapsed lung, is a potential medical emergency caused byaccumulation of air or gas in the pleural cavity, occurring as a result of disease or injury, orspontaneously.PathophysiologyThe lungs are located inside the chest cavity, which is a hollow space. Air is drawninto the lungs by the diaphragm. The pleural cavity is the region between the chest walland the lungs. If air enters the pleural cavity, either from the outside (openpneumothorax) or from the lung (closed pneumothorax), the lung collapses and itbecomes mechanically impossible for the injured person to breathe, even with an openairway. If a piece of tissue forms a one-way valve that allows air to enter the pleuralcavity from the lung but not to escape, overpressure can build up with every breath; thisis known as tension pneumothorax. It may lead to severe shortness of breath as well ascirculatory collapse, both life-threatening

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