Diagnosis of Pneumothorax

Since the symptoms of pneumothorax can be confused for several other lung diseases, a misdiagnosis is highly possible. In addition to listing your symptoms and performing a complete physical exam to rule out any other causes, you will also be recommended a number of other tests in order to reach a correct diagnosis. These tests for pneumothorax include:

  • A general physical exam to check heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature
  • Complete medical history of you and your family
  • Comprehensive check up of the chest using a stethoscope to determine normal breathing sounds or if there is a shift in the normal location of heart sounds in case the lung has collapsed. If the lung has been affected there may be reduced or no breathing sounds from the affected side
  • A chest x-ray will help indicate a collapsed lung
  • A CT scan may be needed if the area of the collapsed lung is small or in the case of severe lung disease
  • An arterial blood gas test may be needed to measure the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Alternatively a pulse oximeter may be used
  • An EKG may be required to check for proper functioning of the heart