Article Text

Tension pneumothorax: eyes may be more diagnostic than ears
  1. S Leigh-Smith1,
  2. G Davies2
  1. 1Defence Medical Services, UK
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine and Pre-hospital Care, Royal London Hospital, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Mr S Leigh-Smith, Flat 3F1, 40 Warrender Park Terrace, Edinburgh EH9 1EB, UK;


A case is presented of unilateral tension pneumothorax in an awake patient who was seen in prehospital care after a significant fall. Because of extrication difficulties it was 40 minutes after the accident when he was first seen and by this stage the tension pneumothorax was well developed. Many features that are taught as “classic” of tension pneumothorax were absent but various other clinical signs were present to aid the diagnosis, and these are reviewed.

  • tension pneumothorax

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.