How do people survive a collapsed lung in emergency situations?

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If there’s an accident that causes a person’s lungs to collapse, how will doctors treat it in an emergency? Do they just stitch it back together?

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3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

People have two lungs, that’s a feature.

When the lung collapses, most of the problem is gas in the torso that keeps the lung from inflating, so the doctor pokes a hole to let the gas out.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A collapsed lung and a punctured lung are not necessarily the same thing.

A collapsed lung is what happens when some pressure, usually air getting into the chest cavity, if putting pressure on the lung and preventing it from filling up with air.  This can also be caused by fluid build up in the chest cavity. The “simplest” is to poke a hole in the persons chest and drain the air/fluid out of the chest. Often using a special valve to prevent air from getting back in. Though you can actually do that with tape and a plastic bag if necessary.

Now, if the lung itself is also punctured, that’s a whole other story that depends on the severity of the puncture. Small things can actually heal on their own if the person takes it easy and little air escapes the lung into the chest cavity. But, if I lot of air is escaping the lung into the chest cavity, well that can cause a collapsed lung. And requires the same treatment as above plus possible surgery to try and close the puncture.

Anonymous 0 Comments

What you’re describing is called a [pneumothorax (great images at this link)](https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15304-collapsed-lung-pneumothorax). I had a collapsed lung years ago, from a broken rib. The doctors couldn’t (wouldn’t) go in to stitch it up; that would’ve made the problem worse. Instead they cut a hole under my armpit, into my chest cavity, and put in a vacuum hose. (I’m not sure how they re-inflated the lung itself – I was unconscious for that part!)

I was hospitalized for about a week, with that hose gently pulling extra air out of my chest for the first 4-5 days. By that point the hole in my lung had healed enough that it wasn’t leaking air into my chest cavity, and they took out the hose.