Pneumothorax can be caused by:

  • Chest injuries. Any blunt or penetrating injury to your chest can cause lung collapse. Some injuries may happen during physical assaults or car crashes, while others may inadvertently occur during medical procedures that involve the insertion of a needle into the chest.
  • Underlying lung diseases. Damaged lung tissue is more likely to collapse. Lung damage can be caused by many types of underlying diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and pneumonia.
  • Ruptured air blisters. Small air blisters (blebs) can develop on the top of your lung. While not considered to be a disease of the lungs, these blebs sometimes burst — allowing air to leak into the space that surrounds the lungs.
  • Mechanical ventilation. A severe type of pneumothorax can occur in people who need mechanical assistance to breathe. The ventilator can create an imbalance of air pressure within the chest. The lung may collapse completely and the heart may be squeezed to the point that it can't work properly.
Mar. 18, 2014