DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pneumothorax and emphysema. Coloured chest X-ray of a 65 year old woman showing a lung affected by pneumothorax (air in the pleural cavity) and emphysema (destruction of lung tissue). The emphysema damage is seen as thick, streaky patches (blue) in the lung. This damage led to the pneumo- thorax: air entering the space between the lungs and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung, pain on breathing and shortness of breath. Air is seen as dark spaces around the lung (best seen at bottom centre). Emphysema is almost always caused by tobacco smoking, and is incurable. Pneumothorax can be relieved by draining the air from the chest, pulling the collapsed lung back into place.
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