I made a model of the lungs in order to demonstrate one of the ways in which one could develop a pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is a condition that develops when air gets inside of the pleural space. This can occur from air escaping the lungs or air entering the the pleural space through a hole in the chest, which is called a “sucking chest wound”, as air is sucked into the chest with every breath. This extra air in the chest cavity can cause the lung to collapse. This will cause difficultly breathing, and in the worst cases can cause death if untreated as the pressure in the chest begins to compress the heart, decreasing cardiac output. Pneumothorax can also develop spontaneously, due to chronic lung conditions and genetic factors, as well as penetrating or blunt trauma.

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  1. Kimberly did her project on pneumothorax, sometimes called “collapsed lung,” which is lung disorder characterized by air in the pleural cavity. Her project covers the objective from the respiratory unit “analyze the effects of disease on function and structure of the respiratory system.” To display this concept, she created a model of lungs that had been penetrated by a stick, representing one of the ways pneumothorax can develop. There are two ways pneumothorax can develop, traumatic or spontaneous. Traumatic pneumothorax can be caused by penetrating trauma like in Kimberly’s model, blunt trauma of the chest, or barotrauma of the lungs. Spontaneous pneumothorax is caused by non-traumatic occurrences and can be classified as primary, when it is not related to underlying conditions, secondary when it is related to an underlying chronic lung disease, and catamenial when it is related to menstruation.
    The pleural space is the space between the lungs and the chest cavity. Air can enter it from outside if the chest is penetrated or from air escaping the lungs. When air enters through the chest it is called a “sucking chest wound,” because air enters with every breath which can cause the lung to collapse. It causes difficulty breathing and can be deadly if left untreated because the pressure can compress the heart. Some other symptoms of the disease can include shortness of breath, chest pain, and in severe cases can cause blood pressure to drop if the hearts ability to pump blood is decreased.
    Kimberly’s model does a great job showing how this disease can be caused and is presented very creatively. It is clearly labeled to show what is going on and the use of a clear water jug that lets you see through to the lungs was very clever. I really enjoyed reading this project and learning about more things that can go wrong with the respiratory system.


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