Last reviewed 01/2018

An open pneumothorax develops when the skin and parietal pleura are broken in an open injury. The pleural cavity communicates with the outside air which is sucked in and out of the chest during respiration, often quite audibly.

Untreated, gross respiratory embarrassment develops as the the lung fails to inflate. Infection is a possibility but the risk may be minimised by keeping the lung expanded so as to obliterate the pleural space.