Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Tension pneumothorax

Contributor(s): Serena Brownlie, Andrew Gardiner, Cheryl Hedlund

Introduction

  • Cause: one-way valve effect created by damaged lung tissues.
  • Air enters pleural space during inspiration and is unable to return to the lung during expiration because the valve closes.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs and radiography.
  • Treatment: immediate thoracocentesis and oxygen supplementation.
  • Once stabilized, the cause must be established and repaired or resected surgically.
  • Prognosis: rapidly fatal if untreated.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Traumatic defect in pulmonary tissue creates a one-way valve effect.

Pathophysiology

  • Trauma, eg rib fracture, damages pulmonary tissues creating a flap of tissue which acts as a valve.
  • Air enters the pleural space during inspiration and cannot re-enter lung during expiration when flap closes. Therefore intrapleural pressure builds up with successive respiratory cycles.
  • Pressure increase reduces ventilation and venous return to the heart.
  • Death will occur due to cardio-pulmonary collapse with hypoxia and reduced cardiac output.

Timecourse

  • Peracute.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Fossum T W, Wellman M, Relford R L et al (1993) Eosinophilic pleural or peritoneal effusions in dogs and cats - 14 cases (1986-1992). JAVMA 202 (11), 1873-1876 PubMed.


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