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A collapsed lung happens when air enters the pleural space, the area between the lung and the chest wall. If it is a total collapse, it is called pneumothorax. If only part of the lung is affected, it is called atelectasis.
Causes of a collapsed lung include
- Lung diseases such as pneumonia or lung cancer
- Being on a breathing machine
- Surgery on the chest or abdomen
- A blocked airway
If only a small area of the lung is affected, you may not have symptoms. If a large area is affected, you may feel short of breath and have a rapid heart rate.
A chest x-ray can tell if you have it. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
- JAMA Patient Page: Lung Complications After Surgery (American Medical Association) - PDF Available in Spanish
- LAM (Lymphangioleiomyomatosis) (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Lung Emergencies (Marfan Foundation)
- What Are the Lungs? (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Lung HelpLine and Tobacco QuitLine (American Lung Association)