Dangers Of A Punctured Lung: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Punctured lung is a serious condition of lung caused due to traumatic injury. As the name suggests the lung can get punctured if some sharp object penetrates the chest cavity. Sharp knife, bullet injury, traumatic rib fractures are few important causes that can lead to punctured lung. In medical terminology the condition is called pneumothorax or collapsed lung.

When the lung is punctured air gets collected between the lung and the chest cavity or the pleural space. Due to air pressure the lung is unable to expand leading to difficulty in breathing, pain in chest while breathing, etc.

Pneumothorax is a serious condition and requires quick diagnosis and treatment. Consult your physician if you suspect symptoms of lung puncture after sustaining traumatic chest injury.

Lung injury is treated in hospital set up where doctors treat the condition after assessing the size and depth of the penetrating wound and the response of the lungs.

Signs And Symptoms Of Punctured Lung

Lung puncture can produce sharp pain in the chest near the site of injury. The chest pain is typically located on the lateral side of the chest rather than in the middle of chest.

The pain caused due to lung puncture or pneumothorax typically increases during inspiration.

Due to pain patient finds difficulty in breathing and his breathing becomes shallow. He finds difficulty in inhaling air. It is due to build up of air around the lungs in the chest cavity and pleural space. Breathing difficulty causes low oxygen saturation and the vital organs receive poor supply of oxygen.

Patient may become cyanosed, his lips, tongue and nails turn blue. He is easily fatigued. He feels dizzy and may also suffer from headache. In some cases, patient may also expel blood in his cough. Lack of oxygen supply to heart leads increase in pulse and heart beat.

As the ruptured site is open there is possibility of infection in the pleural space if the condition is not treated quickly. Patient is at greater risk of suffering from septicemia, a life threatening condition.

Diagnosis And Treatment For Punctured Lung

Punctured lung needs urgent medical attention. If you suspect from the signs and symptoms after injury to chest to be that of punctured lung, immediately go to the emergency room. Patient’s traumatic history, signs and symptoms and X-ray chest help to clinch the diagnosis. X-ray of chest is diagnostic. There is a translucent shadow of air and sharp defined edge of the deflated lung.

After examining and diagnosing, the first thing that the doctor will recommend is to provide supplemental oxygen to the patient. Oxygen will help to absorb the air within the chest cavity and pleural space.

The wound will be assessed, cleaned and covered with gauze and bandage. Often the wound is sealed with bandage containing petroleum jelly to prevent entry of air in the open wound.

If it is a small punctured area, the patient may be monitored closely for his vital signs. Small punctured area may heal on its own.

To remove the air a small bore needle or tube is inserted in the affected pleural space and the other end of the tube is kept in bottle containing water. This way air is removed from the chest cavity. The procedure is called underwater seal in pneumothorax.

Simultaneously, patient is given antibiotic medicines to prevent infection. In large punctured lung, surgery may be necessary.