Pneumothorax vs. hypovolemia.Register Today!
This is a discussion on Pneumothorax vs. hypovolemia. in Nursing Student Assistance, part of Nursing Student ... I am an LPN going back to school to get my RN degree. The question came up in the class as to why...by jhwang2 Apr 21, '12I am an LPN going back to school to get my RN degree.
The question came up in the class as to why pneumothorax initial has same s/s as hypovolemia which often leads to misdiagnosis and slow. Nobody including my nursing instructors, could answer that one.
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- Apr 21, '12 by Ashley, PICU RNWell, I can't say that I agree that a pneumothorax and hypovolemia have the same symptoms.
Pneumothorax is a collapsed lung. Major symptoms are respiratory distress, tracheal deviation, unequal breath sounds and unequal chest rise. Usually chest pain and tachycardia are also present.
Hypovolemia is insufficient amounts of intravascular fluid. Symptoms can be tachycardia, tachypnea, low blood pressure, poor perfusion, slow cap refill, and signs of dehydration.
If you're doing a thorough assessment- including heart and lung sounds, there should be no mistaking a pneumothorax for hypovolemia. Exceptions might be a trauma situation, where both major blood loss and pneumothorax could occur simultaneously. But in that example, both problems are occurring. One is not being mistaken for the other. The initial treatment is the same: Support the patient with fluids and oxygen until you get to the hospital, where they will undoubtably be assessed and have an X-ray done which will show the pneumothorax.
- Apr 21, '12 by Esme12I agree with Ashley. In trauma there may be initial delay of diagnosis of a subtle pneumothorax in the presence of distracting injuries (more serious) if the patient is not c/o SOB. Each may have a subtle initial presentation of restlessness, tachycardia, and pallor with a sense of impending doom/anxiety but with further mechanism of injury clarified and assessment usually clarifies the situation before a catastrophic event occurs.....so I am not sure what your instructors were saying about this subject.
If you give me a little more detail I am sure I can tell you how and why.
- Apr 21, '12 by ckh23I wouldn't say the symptoms are the same, but they can be similar. They both can present with tachycardia and hypotension, but they also both have different symptoms that help differentiate each other. This is where your physical assessment comes into play.
On a side note I think it today's world of medicine there is an extreme downplay of physical assessments because of all of the fancy gadgets and tests. However, they are never a substitute for a good thorogh physical assessment. I once saw an attending come down on a resident because of the lack of assessment. The resident had ordered the right tests and came up with the correct diagnosis and treatment, but when asked about his findings during an assessment he had no answers.
- Apr 21, '12 by GrnTeawhen i read the thread title i thought, "oh, ok, i'll take door numbah two, hypovelemia, alex!" that's easier to fix.
but i can't imagine anyone saying it's possible to confuse the two if you've done the most cursory physical exam.
- Apr 21, '12 by InoriWithout lseeing your example symptoms the only thing i can think of as signs/symptoms would be the same is if both pt are going into shock,hypoxia iotherwise no way it's similar towards end yep all things lead to shock if don't catch it early enough. . Pneumo ..well punctured lung he's bleeding somewhere, increased intra something pressure lungs can't expand cNt get enough Ir lead to hypoxia. Hypovolemia can lead to hypoxia and carcinogenic shock. Look up shock for symptoms. Usually increased Resp, decr BP, inc HR, cool clammy skin, loc confusion, restless, prob more. A definitive dx for pneumothorax is X-ray which will show the lung w prob. Yes to other posters about physical assess.Last edit by Inori on Apr 21, '12
- Apr 21, '12 by Floridatrail2006I guess they could be similar in VS related to the compensatory mechanisms of the body response to the condition. For instance, tachypnea and tachycardia. I can't imagine one having hypotension during a pneumothorax unless there is significant bleed. There could also be a drop in pulse ox in both cases. During pneumothorax, loss of negative pressure in pleural cavity and alveoli having the inability to properly inflate leading to less O2 diffusion across the membrane. And, during hypovolemia, there could be less RBCs for O2 to attach to therefore a decrease in Pulse Ox. I bet there are also similar neuro changes such as anxiety, decreased loc, or confusion. However, once one does a physical assessment and surely asking about pain, the two are likely very different. Never come across a pneumothorax though. Good luck in school!!!
- Apr 22, '12 by cnmbfaSevere enough pneumothorax can interfere with return of blood to the heart form the lungs, and will definitely impair oxgenation. Heart rate and RR go up in response; BP goes down as attempt to maintain caridiac output is unsuccessful. Then we see poor perfusion, decreased urine output, etc. Maybe no one thought to listen to the lungs in a post op pateint, or did what I often see: superficial lung sounds done only over the bronchus, which will not catch a aprtial pneumothorax.
- Apr 23, '12 by tcvnurse*Shrug* On our unit there is no mistaking one for the other. The guy with the dropped lung often has trouble breathing, and chest/lung pain. The hypovolemia folks have low bps, tachy, othostatic, dizzy etc. Maybe I just see a lot more pneumos than most, but I don't think I would mistake the two.