The most common cause of pneumothorax is from air delivered by a breathing machine (mechanical ventilator). A baby born with a lung disease may need to be on a breathing machine.
Another cause is meconium aspiration. This is when a baby is still in the mother’s womb and breathes in its first stool (meconium). Air may then become trapped, causing the lungs to expand too much. This can lead to air leaks.
Children at risk for a pneumothorax are:
Symptoms may be a bit different for each child. Some otherwise healthy babies can develop an air leak that does not cause symptoms or distress. Others may have these symptoms:
These symptoms may look like other health problems. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your child’s healthcare provider can diagnose a pneumothorax with a health history and physical exam. Your child may also need:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment for a pneumothorax depends on how big it is and what symptoms it is causing. Some air leaks that do not cause symptoms or distress may get better on their own without treatment. As the leak seals over, air is absorbed into your child’s body.
For air leaks that cause symptoms, treatment may include:
A pneumothorax in a child can lead to:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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