A pneumothorax is an abnormal collection of air in the space between the lung and the inside lining of the chest wall.
What is going on in the body?
Air can collect between the lung and chest wall can occur for different reasons. The main concern is that this abnormal air can compress the lung and cause breathing problems. In severe cases, a pneumothorax can cause death if it is not treated quickly.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
A pneumothorax may be caused by:
injury or trauma, including those from medical procedures such as surgery
lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma
a severe bacterial infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis
a tumor or cancer, such as lung cancer
rare inherited conditions
In some cases, the condition occurs for no apparent reason in otherwise healthy people.