Question Getting checked for pneumothorax 6 Months later?

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Chap77

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Hi y'all, in November of 2021 I was taking my stress and rescue course, it was the first night of pool lessons and we did an emergency ascent drills in the 10 foot section of the pool. The next day around noon I remember getting stressed and anxious as it felt like there was some pain lower part of my chest/ upper stomach (I don't remember if I had this discomfort prior but I know this is the first time I thought of injury being a concern). This anxiety sparked up for a while and I felt issues for a while but they would also tend to go away or I would not notice it for a while if I wasn't thinking about it directly and not being anxious. I remember thinking it could be a possible pneumothorax as that is something we went into detail about the night prior as well. I was in no direct pain just discomfort. I was able to have very long skateboarding sessions as well without noticing any breathing issues. After a while I had forgotten about it and then winter hit anyways so I couldn't dive. That brings us to now my dad has planned a dive trip at the end of July and I really want to dive. I do not know for certain if I suffered from a pneumothorax or if it was just anxiety, I felt lots of air hunger that I get from anxiety as well, I am not a overly anxious person but the thought of possible collapsed lung and serious injury or worse is a worrisome thought. I would like to go to my Doctor and get checked out. I had planned on getting a chest X-ray and PFT. My question is 1. Would I know if I suffered from a pneumothorax looking for it this late. 2. If I can't tell if I had one or not would it be safe to go back to diving without knowing for sure or to hang up the regs.
 

Duke Dive Medicine

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Hi y'all, in November of 2021 I was taking my stress and rescue course, it was the first night of pool lessons and we did an emergency ascent drills in the 10 foot section of the pool. The next day around noon I remember getting stressed and anxious as it felt like there was some pain lower part of my chest/ upper stomach (I don't remember if I had this discomfort prior but I know this is the first time I thought of injury being a concern). This anxiety sparked up for a while and I felt issues for a while but they would also tend to go away or I would not notice it for a while if I wasn't thinking about it directly and not being anxious. I remember thinking it could be a possible pneumothorax as that is something we went into detail about the night prior as well. I was in no direct pain just discomfort. I was able to have very long skateboarding sessions as well without noticing any breathing issues. After a while I had forgotten about it and then winter hit anyways so I couldn't dive. That brings us to now my dad has planned a dive trip at the end of July and I really want to dive. I do not know for certain if I suffered from a pneumothorax or if it was just anxiety, I felt lots of air hunger that I get from anxiety as well, I am not a overly anxious person but the thought of possible collapsed lung and serious injury or worse is a worrisome thought. I would like to go to my Doctor and get checked out. I had planned on getting a chest X-ray and PFT. My question is 1. Would I know if I suffered from a pneumothorax looking for it this late. 2. If I can't tell if I had one or not would it be safe to go back to diving without knowing for sure or to hang up the regs.
Hi @Chap77 ,

A physician who examines you in person would be in a better position to rule out a pneumothorax and the only true way to do that would be via chest x-ray (PFT would not be sensitive or specific enough to be diagnostic). But, give your description I think it's highly unlikely. In general, if you'd suffered a pneumothorax that was large enough to cause symptoms, you would have known about it right away. Also, your description of the pain makes it sound like it was in the lower middle part of your chest. Did I read that correctly?

Best regards,
DDM
 

lowflyer

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What @Duke Dive Medicine said.

It's interesting that you thought of pneumothorax after studying it the night before. When medical students start studying pathology, they sometimes start diagnosing themselves with the diseases they study:)
 
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Chap77

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What @Duke Dive Medicine said.

It's interesting that you thought of pneumothorax after studying it the night before. When medical students start studying pathology, they sometimes start diagnosing themselves with the diseases they study:)
I have heard of that before and was part of the reason I wasn't too worried about the whole thing.
 
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Chap77

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Hi @Chap77 ,

A physician who examines you in person would be in a better position to rule out a pneumothorax and the only true way to do that would be via chest x-ray (PFT would not be sensitive or specific enough to be diagnostic). But, give your description I think it's highly unlikely. In general, if you'd suffered a pneumothorax that was large enough to cause symptoms, you would have known about it right away. Also, your description of the pain makes it sound like it was in the lower middle part of your chest. Did I read that correctly?

Best regards,
DDM
Yes I would say that the pain was focused around the lower middle part of my chest, though it did move around some which was another indicator for me that it was probably anxiety related then a pneumothorax. I plan on getting a chest X-ray before diving just for peace of mind but it sounds like you came to the same conclusion I did as well. Even if I did suffer from one do most diving related non spontaneous pneumothorax's lead to being able to dive again? I know spontaneous you cannot due to the risk involved but from what I have read is that tramautic related it can be okay to dive again.

Thanks!
Chap
 

Duke Dive Medicine

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Yes I would say that the pain was focused around the lower middle part of my chest, though it did move around some which was another indicator for me that it was probably anxiety related then a pneumothorax. I plan on getting a chest X-ray before diving just for peace of mind but it sounds like you came to the same conclusion I did as well. Even if I did suffer from one do most diving related non spontaneous pneumothorax's lead to being able to dive again? I know spontaneous you cannot due to the risk involved but from what I have read is that tramautic related it can be okay to dive again.

Thanks!
Chap
The history you gave and the location of the pain places pneumothorax very low on the differential. That said, in general a traumatic pneumothorax is not a contraindication to diving provided it's fully resolved and there is no scarring in the lung that could lead to air trapping.

Best regards,
DDM
 
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Chap77

Chap77

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The history you gave and the location of the pain places pneumothorax very low on the differential. That said, in general a traumatic pneumothorax is not a contraindication to diving provided it's fully resolved and there is no scarring in the lung that could lead to air trapping.

Best regards,
DDM
Went to the doctors yesterday and finally got a chest X-ray. The doc said all is good and there is nothing shown and he is in the same consensus of it sounds like I spooked myself more than anything, but is glad I got it checked out to be better safe than sorry. I am excited to go dive!!
 
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