Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster


  • Melissa Van DellenEmail author
Reference work entry


Collapsed lung


Pneumothorax is the presence of air in the pleural cavity surrounding the lung. This collection of air restricts the expansion of the lung, causing difficulty breathing.

Pneumothorax may be classified as spontaneous or non-spontaneous.

A spontaneous pneumothorax occurs with no apparent trauma to the chest wall and may be further classified as primary or secondary.

Primary spontaneous pneumothorax occurs most often in patients with no history of lung disease and is often due to rupture of a bleb or bulla. A history of smoking increases the risk of spontaneous pneumothorax, such as infection, chronic obstructive lung disorder (COPD), or lung cancer.

Secondary spontaneous pneumothorax typically occurs in patients with underlying lung pathology.

Non-spontaneous pneumothorax can occur as a result of trauma to the chest wall, such as with blunt force, fractured rib, or penetrating trauma. Iatrogenic pneumothorax is also known to occur in patients undergoing...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Further Reading

  1. Findik, S., Erkan, L., & Light, R. W. (2006). Iatrogenic bilateral pneumothorax following unilateral transbronchial lung biopsy. The British Journal of Radiology, 79(943), e22–e24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Paulman, P. M., Paulman, A. A., Harrison, J. D., Nasir, L. S., & Jarzynka, K. J. (2013). Taylor’s differential diagnosis manual: Symptoms and signs in the time-limited encounter. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  3. Ruigomes, A., Rodriguez, L. A., Wallander, M. A., et al. (2006). Chest pain in general practice: Incidence, comorbidity and mortality. Family Practice, 23(2), 167–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA