Lung Puncture Symptoms

Lung puncture--also referred to as pneumothorax or a collapsed lung--can occur when your chest sustains severe trauma, such as a rib fracture or knife wound. Such injuries cause air to abnormally collect around the lungs. When this happens, the lungs are unable to expand normally, leading to severe breathing difficulties. If you suspect that you have sustained a lung puncture, or if you develop any lung puncture symptoms, seek immediate emergency medical care to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.

Lung puncture symptoms can be life-threatening. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Sharp Chest Pain

A lung puncture injury can cause patients to experience sharp, sudden pain within the chest near the puncture site, warn doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Chest pain symptoms tend to occur on either side of the chest rather than in the center of the chest. Typically, painful sensations are more severe when attempting to inhale normally. The development of chest pain can also be a symptom of other medical conditions, such as heart attack, and it requires immediate medical intervention.

Difficulty Breathing

Air that builds up around the lungs as a result of lung puncture can interfere with the ability of the lungs to expand normally. When this happens, patients can experience severe difficulty breathing or shortness of breath as symptoms of this condition, explains Medline Plus, an informational health website established by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Breathing difficulties prevent sufficient levels of oxygen from reaching the vital organs in the body and can cause additional symptoms, such as headache or dizziness. If the cells, tissues or organs within the body do not receive enough oxygen due to lung puncture, patients can also become easily fatigued after mild physical movements, such as walking to the mailbox. In certain instances, patients with lung puncture also cough up small amounts of blood, warns the Better Health Channel, a health information website established by the Australian government.

Increased Heart Rate

Low oxygen levels in the body due to lung puncture can affect cardiac (heart) function. Patients who sustain lung puncture can develop an increased heart rate as a symptom of this condition, explain Mayo Clinic doctors. An elevated heart rate helps pump oxygenated blood more quickly through the body, but can also cause patients to feel anxious or dizzy.

Skin Discoloration

Insufficient oxygen supplies can cause patients with lung puncture to develop symptoms of skin discoloration. Health professionals at Medline Plus warn that the skin of lung puncture patients can appear abnormally pale and bluish in color--a condition referred to as cyanosis. Affected skin can feel cool to the touch, and this symptom can be accompanied by dizziness or loss of consciousness.

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