Signs and symptoms of a pneumothorax

It is possible to have a partial or complete lung collapse. Sometimes a partial collapse is limited to a very small section of the lung, and you may have only slight symptoms, or may even feel nothing. A very small lung collapse may heal on its own, but it is very important to see a doctor if you think you are having a lung collapse.

Therefore it is crucial to know the symptoms of a spontaneous pneumothorax, which are listed below:

  • You may feel chest pains and be short of breath.
  • Your chest may feel constricted.
  • Your heart may feel like it is beating quickly.
  • Your skin may appear blue if the pneumothorax is more severe and you experience a lack of oxygen.
  • The symptoms of pneumothorax may feel similar to a heart attack or other conditions, so it is important to get medical attention. Only a doctor can determine whether or not you are having a pneumothorax.
  • If you experience these symptoms, we would recommend that you go to an Urgent Care/Emergency Department in a hospital. A doctor will usually perform a chest X-ray, and occasionally a CT scan or ultrasound to see if you are having a pneumothorax. Your doctor may also check your lungs with a stethoscope and you may have an arterial blood gas analysis.

We recommend talking to your doctor in advance about what you should do if you think you are having a lung collapse, so you are prepared to act appropriately. Be sure to explain that you have BHD syndrome.



Publication date: September 2012
Review date: September 2015