MEDICAL

A TALL THIN WOMAN AGED 26 PRESENTS WITH SUDDEN-ONSET LEFT-SIDED PLEURITIC CHEST PAIN AND BREATHLESSNESS. EXAMINATION SHOWS HER TO BE TALL AND THIN, WITH A STRAIGHT BACK, OXYGEN SATURATION 99% ON AIR, HEART RATE 70 BPM, BP 110/75 AND DECREASED BREATH SOUNDS TO THE LEFT HEMITHORAX. THE LIKELY DIAGNOSIS IS WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING

  • A. Acute coronary syndrome
  • B. Aortic dissection
  • C. Pneumonia
  • D. Pneumothorax ✓
  • E. Pulmonary embolus

 

A pneumothorax is a condition characterized by the presence of air in the pleural space, leading to lung collapse. The classic presentation includes sudden-onset chest pain, shortness of breath, and decreased breath sounds on the affected side. Tall, thin individuals are at higher risk for spontaneous pneumothorax, especially if they have underlying lung conditions like emphysema or a history of smoking.

In other words, Pneumothorax is a condition characterized by the presence of air or gas in the pleural cavity, leading to lung collapse. The classic presentation of pneumothorax includes chest pain, shortness of breath, and decreased breath sounds on the affected side. In this case, the patient’s tall and thin stature, along with the sudden onset of symptoms and physical examination findings, are highly suggestive of a pneumothorax.

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