Caring for a Punctured Lung Following a Car Accident

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Many injuries are commonly associated with car accidents. Among these is a punctured lung, medically referred to as traumatic pneumothorax.

With traumatic pneumothorax, the lung is punctured as the result of a broken rib or other injury that punctures the lung.  Symptoms associated with this type of trauma include:

  • Chest pain that worsens when you take a deep breath or cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
  • Pale or blue skin (caused by a lack of oxygen)

The treatment plan for a punctured lung is determined by the severity of the trauma as well as the amount of damage to the lung.  In some cases, the wound can simply heal on its own, during which time you may simply require oxygen and rest in order to enjoy a full recovery. Your doctor may also need to release additional air around the lung by sucking it out through a needle, thereby allowing the lung to fully expand once more. 

In more severe cases, a chest tube may need to be placed through the ribs in order to help drain the air. Surgery may also be required to repair the injury or to suction out any blood cells or other fluids that may have built up around the lungs. 

In most cases, it takes six to eight weeks to fully recover from a punctured lung injury. A punctured lung usually doesn’t cause future health complications if it was treated quickly and properly. Therefore, it is important to provide the proper treatment and aftercare following a car accident. Contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about how we can help!

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