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a free communication between the atmosphere and the pleural space either through the lung or through the chest wall.
Synonym(s): sucking chest wound
Etymology: AS, open + Gk, pneuma, air, thorax, chest
the presence of air or gas in the chest as a result of an open wound in the chest wall.
o·pen pneu·mo·tho·rax(ō'pĕn nū'mō-thōr'aks)
entry of air into the pleural cavity in sufficient quantity to cause collapse of the lung and consequent respiratory embarrassment. If it is unilateral there is a mediastinal shift with displacement of the heart to the other side of the chest. Breath sounds are absent from the affected side.
air leaks from a discontinuity in the lung into the pleural cavity.
artifactual increased radiolucency of the thorax resembling free air in the pleural cavity.
may occur following intrathoracic surgery or in association with procedures which involve entry into the pleural cavity, such as thoracentesis or placement of a chest drain.
caused by an open wound in the chest wall.
due to an unknown cause.
a particularly dangerous form of pneumothorax that occurs when air escapes into the pleural cavity from a bronchus but cannot regain entry into the bronchus. As a result, continuously increasing air pressure in the pleural cavity causes progressive collapse of the lung tissue. If not relieved, it can lead to lung collapse and mediastinal shift.