Pneumothorax in children

Pneumothorax is sometimes called a collapsed lung.

It is caused when air builds up between your child’s lung and the chest wall. It stops the lung from inflating properly and can cause it to collapse.

It may be caused by weak tissue in the lungs or if your child was on a ventilator. It is more common in tall, thin boys around the time of puberty.

It can also develop after some surgical procedures or if your child is injured.

Your doctor will watch your child’s chest movement and listen to their breathing. They may also need a chest X-ray.

In many cases treatment is not needed. If air needs to be removed from the chest space quickly, doctors will usually use a long needle or a chest drain.

For more information see the GOSH website.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.