Hematopneumothorax is a pathological phenomenon that occurs after trauma to the thorax or so-called iatrogenic injuries to the lungs. The affected patients suffer from a mixture of the symptoms of a pneumothorax and hemothorax.
What is a hemopneumothorax?
According to abbreviationfinder, the diagnosis of hematopneumothorax is made by a specialist doctor and is based on the results of several examination methods. First, the patient explains his symptoms during the patient consultation and informs the doctor about potentially relevant circumstances.
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Hematopneumothorax is caused by various traumatic effects on the thorax. Lung injuries or surgical interventions in some people lead to the development of the typical symptoms of hematopneumothorax.
Rapid diagnosis of the phenomenon and competent treatment of the hematopneumothorax are of immense importance for the life of the patient. If such measures are not taken, life-threatening complications sometimes arise and the hematopneumothorax ends in the death of the person concerned.
The causes and processes of the pathogenesis of hematopneumothorax have been largely clarified according to numerous medical studies. The hematopneumothorax forms after certain impacts in the area of the thorax. Trauma to the thorax, for example, is a common trigger. In many cases, iatrogenic damage in the area of the lungs also leads to the development of the phenomenon.
Such injuries to the lungs occur in some people after surgery or other respiratory injuries. Sometimes injuries to the airways, esophagus and vessels also lead to the development of a hematopneumothorax. The cause is usually found in the fact that blood and air enter the gap in the pleura. As a result, the lungs of the sick person fail.
In what is known as a tension hematopneumothorax, the intrathoracic pressure in the diseased side of the lung gradually increases. The reason for this lies in the way a particular valve works. As a result, the affected half of the lung is squeezed. In addition, the mediastinum may shift. The patient’s breathing is also affected.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The symptoms of hematopneumothorax are diverse and express themselves slightly differently in each person. A very small amount of hematopneumothorax sometimes causes no symptoms and may go undetected. The situation is different with more serious injuries in the area of the thorax.
People suffering from hematopneumothorax usually experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, decreased sound when breathing, increased frequency of breathing, and pain sensations in the relevant areas.
Such symptoms occur especially when the lung collapses as a result of traumatic effects. During the medical examination, a reduced knocking noise is often noticeable, which is sometimes also hypersonorous. The severity of the percussion sound abnormality depends on the severity of the patient’s hematopneumothorax.
In some cases, a special valve process strengthens an existing pneumothorax. A tension hematopneumothorax may develop. This phenomenon poses an acute danger to human life and in any case requires emergency medical attention. Affected individuals suffer from acute shortness of breath, which is followed by cyanosis.
The mediastinum is pushed out of its usual position. As a result, the blood backs up in the veins. The problem becomes visible, for example, in a clear congestion of blood in the veins in the neck. If the stagnation of blood continues, the patient develops low blood pressure, shock and tachycardia.
In the worst case, the affected persons die as a result of the tension hematopneumothorax from a standstill of the cardiovascular system. Depending on the individual cause of the bleeding, a loss of blood is also possible, as a result of which the patient suffers shock.
Diagnosis & course of disease
The diagnosis of hematopneumothorax is made by a specialist doctor and is based on the results of several examination methods. First, the patient explains his symptoms during the patient consultation and informs the doctor about potentially relevant circumstances. In any case, the doctor first examines the area of the thorax for external signs of injury.
A so-called auscultation is then usually used. Imaging methods also play a crucial role in the diagnosis of hematopneumothorax. In the vast majority of cases, the doctor carries out an X-ray examination, focusing on the lungs. In the case of an existing hematopneumothorax, for example, imaging indicates a collapse of the lung.
Also, in some patients, fluid accumulates in the chest, which is partially visualized. In addition, ultrasonic examinations are usually used. Even a CT scan of the chest is used in some cases. To detect injuries to blood vessels, the doctor uses what is known as digital subtraction angiography.
The hematopneumothorax usually causes problems in the lungs. Those affected suffer from shortness of breath, which can often lead to panic attacks or sweating. The shortness of breath can also lead to a loss of consciousness, which can lead to a fall and thus to another injury. It is not uncommon for pain and unpleasant feelings to occur even when breathing.
The respiratory rate is increased and the patient’s resilience usually decreases enormously. Normal everyday activities and sporting activities are usually no longer easily possible for the person concerned. Blood pressure can also build up, resulting in very low blood pressure. This can damage the internal organs and, in the worst case, the heart.
The victim then goes into cardiac arrest and dies. Hematopneumothorax is treated depending on its severity. There are no special complications during the treatment itself. The life expectancy of the patient may be reduced if the treatment of the hematopneumothorax is delayed and irreversible consequential damage occurs as a result.
When should you go to the doctor?
A hematopneumothorax can manifest itself through a wide variety of symptoms. These are not always clearly due to a serious illness, which is why there is usually no medical clarification at the beginning. However, a doctor’s visit is indicated as soon as serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or changed breathing sounds appear. People who have severe lung pain after an accident or who feel generally ill should go to the nearest hospital.
This is especially true if the symptoms rapidly increase in intensity. If the victim becomes unconscious or has severe shortness of breath, the emergency services must be called. At the same time, first aid must be given to the person concerned. If the symptoms are due to serious injuries in the thoracic region, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. In addition to the hematopneumothorax, there may also be internal bleeding or other complications that need to be clarified and treated. The right contact person is your general practitioner or a lung specialist. In case of doubt, the medical emergency service or the emergency number can be contacted directly.
Treatment & Therapy
The therapeutic measures depend on the severity of the hematopneumothorax. If the hematopneumothorax is less severe, no treatment is often necessary. However, the hematopneumothorax must be checked regularly by a doctor in order to react quickly to possible changes.
Specific therapeutic measures are required if the lung collapses. Here, the lungs are usually relieved by draining the thorax. In the case of a tension hematopneumothorax, immediate relief measures are necessary. Sometimes a puncture is necessary. If the patient loses too much blood, rapid stopping of the bleeding is of paramount importance.
Prevent hematopneumothorax by avoiding injury and other traumatic procedures to the chest. However, prevention is not successful in all cases.
Follow-up care for a hematopneumothorax depends on the cause and the degree of the disease. First, patients should ensure that the thorax is protected from injury or other harmful influences. After lung treatment in the hospital, the patient should take it easy and avoid excessive exertion.
It is therefore essential to follow the doctor’s recommendations, especially if there has been a significant loss of blood. Then the bed rest can even last for several weeks until the patient has recovered. With an adapted diet and light exercise therapy, the body is then gradually strengthened again.
Especially in the first time after the treatment, bland food is on the menu so as not to put too much strain on the lungs. A close examination by the pulmonologist can determine whether the recovery is successful. The doctor detects any complications and can act in a timely manner.
Patients themselves should be aware of any unusual signs or symptoms in order to address these issues at follow-up appointments. In this way, the doctor can combat possible deterioration at an early stage. In the event of sudden breathing difficulties, those affected should not hesitate to go to the nearest hospital.
You can do that yourself
The measures that those affected can take themselves in the event of a hematopneumothorax depend on the type and severity of the symptoms. Basically, a hematopneumothorax requires treatment in the hospital because it is a medical emergency.
The patient must rest during and after the therapy and otherwise comply with the doctor’s instructions. In the case of severe blood loss in particular, the patient should spend a few days or weeks in bed. An individual diet and moderate exercise supported the body during recovery. The diet should consist of light food in the first few weeks. Foods and drinks that do not put undue strain on the lungs are suitable. Patients who have suffered a hematopneumothorax must be examined regularly by a pulmonologist after the end of treatment. Close monitoring ensures that the recovery proceeds as planned and that a rapid response can be made in the event of complications.
If breathing difficulties or other unusual symptoms and complaints develop, the responsible doctor must be informed in any case or the person concerned should be taken to the nearest hospital. This applies in particular if the hematopneumothorax occurred in connection with a serious accident.