Turner Moderator

Before christmas i suffered from 2 spontaneous pneumothoraxes (collapsed lungs). Was admitted to hospital had 2 chest drains inserted and lung finally came back up. I know a few people here have had similar experiences with their lungs.
I have booked a holiday in june to greece and am kinda worried about flying. The change in pressure when the aircraft cabin pressurises can cause a instand reoccurance of a collapsed lung which can be fatal at 30,000 feet.
Has anybody else flown after having a collapsed lung and had any problems. I am meeting with some cardio thoracic surgeons on friday so would like to brush up on the subject.
Have already tried www.pneumothorax.org but got no real joy.
Thanks in advance

Gordon Administrator

is a link if you like.

Hope you make it on holiday.

Caesar_Bojangle Registered User

A fellow sufferer here, i've had three in the last year. I had one in february, told me to avoid flying for three months, which i did. Went away in august and to be brutally honest i could kind of feel my lung give a slight reminder of that stabby feeling, which you should be all to aware of. Other than that the journey was fine which accumulated to about 10hrs flying time in total.

But i had another relapse in early november, dont know if it was at all connected to my flying in august. Best bet would be to advise the airline prior to the journey in case you need oxygen whilst on board.

Turner Moderator

Oxygen and a needle for somebody to stab through my ribs and let the air out.
Getting more worried as the days go on.

Caeser how was your experience in hospital. Mine was something i'd like to forget.

Was admitted to St Vincents with a sore chest, right around the area my heart is, so immediately tohught i was having a heart attack. Saw the triage nurse and was told to take a seat . 5 hours later i finally see a doctor who says by not even examining me that i have a collsaped lung. He could tell by the way i was walking. Slanted to one side. He was shocked that I had been sitting in the waiting room for 5 hours with a collapsed lung. Had an emergency chest tube inserted between my ribs and could feel relief almost instantly. Was given morphine while they inserted the tube so cant really remember much. Woke up in a ward in the worst pain ive ever experienced. Was on injection pain killers for about a week. The chest drain that was inserted was bubbling away nicely as the lung inflated slowly. Was discharged after about a week with the lung 95% inflated.
to cut a long story short i was admitted a week later with a 30% collapse of the same lung, same thing emergency chest tube inserted through my ribs (same hole from last week) and woke up in a ward. All was going well until one morning I was leaning up in bed and the chest tube fell out. So basically i had a hole going from my ribs straight through muscle/fat/lung cavity. Like having an open stabwound. Every breath i took my was a traumatic experience, to breath and nothing to happen was very frightening. My blood oxygen dropped to 84% and heart rate doubled to 149. Eventually i was sedated with hypnoville (similar to date rape drug afaik) and tube was re-inserted.
2 months later and all is going well although i am at high risk of having another. Especially whilest flying or scuba diving.
No real cause except it happens to tall thin men between the age of 20 and 40 who smoke.

Lex_Diamonds Registered User

Jaysus, sounds nasty Chief.
Ive had two in my life. Had one that I went into hospital for a week after it happened. They kept me in over night but let me leave the next day cos it was reinflating itself.

Seven months later, I had another one. Wasnt arsed going to the hospital cos id do anything not to stay in hospital. Was in pain for a while but it fixed itself like the last. I figure that if my heart rate and breathing is stable, I dont need to admit myself.

Now its been a year or more since my last one. Every time I fly im ****tin myself to be honest. Also, I lie to people who want to know if I have medical history cos they wont let you do anything if there is this possibility that you could have a collapse at any time (they want to cover their asses).

BTW, I have never smoked in my life so it can happen to anyone. Its a horrible thing to have cos you always have it hanging over you, I have heard of people who still suffer from them even after corrective surgery.

The god damn worst thing would be for it to happen while on holiday, can you imagine that, stuck in a foreign countries hospital for three months. :-/

Mr_Roger_Bongos Registered User

What caused your callapsed lungs anyway?

I saw it on 3 kings, where your man has a needle in his chest and he has to keep releasing the air!

Sounds pretty damn painful!

Turner Moderator

It can be caused by what you saw on 3 kings by yer mano being shot. I can alos happed if air escaped from your lungs into your plural cavity.

Got this from bbc world service online.
In 1995 a Scottish doctor made aviation history during a flight from Hong Kong to London. Professor Angus Wallace saved, fellow passenger, Paula Dixon’s life by improvising with a metal coathanger, a bottle of water, oxygen mask and a bottle of brandy.

When Wallace realised that Dixon had suffered a collapsed lung, which was due to an earlier motorbike accident, he used a scalpel and anaesthetic from the planes, medical kit and sterilised a coat hanger in brandy before operating and releasing pressure from the chest.

Later that year Wallace received the Weigelt-Wallace award for ‘extraordinary dedication and sacrifice on behalf of medicine and mankind.’

Gordon Administrator

Chief - are you 20-40, thin and do you smoke?

The_Bullman Registered User

Yeah, I remember seeing that on 999 emergency or suchlike. Pretty amazing stuff really

Turner Moderator

20-40 ? -yes 22.
thin ? - yes (I like to call it lean)
smoke ? -never again (have smoked since i was 15)

layke Registered User

tbh Chief I would ask your GP.

Turner Moderator

I have a meeting with some thoracic surgeons on friday so will ask all the questions then.
Cheers for all the replies

Lex_Diamonds Registered User

Yeah give us a shout with any useful info you pick up.

spod Registered User

Had collapsed lung as a side effect of other stuff when I was 14 or 15. No relapses, in fact until reading this I wasn't aware they happened, now I'm paranoid about it.

Anyway, I've flown a good bit since with no hassle, except a slightly funny feeling once during take off and climbing to crusing height (I had just gotten over a chest infection though which could have caused it), but to be honest the popping in my ears was more annoying.

Anyway, good luck and I'll have to agree with everyone who said just how much they suck and how painful and uncomfortable the are.

Turner Moderator

Surgery in 2-3 weeks, keyhole jobby then all should be fixed.

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