Hi, I am 18 years old. I was in a car accident on Feb. 3 of 2009. I suffered from a collapsed lung and was hospitalized for 4 days. I am a smoker, maybe 4-5 cigarettes or less a day. Before I left the hospital I asked my doctor what the chances were my lung could recollapse due to smoking and he told me it was only a 5% or less chance it would. I started back smoking maybe a week after i got out and things seem to be ok. However, I just wanted to make sure what my doctor said is accurate. I know smoking is not good for you and I plan on quitting eventually, but for the time being I enjoy it. Please answer!
First, note that a number of clinical studies have confirmed that of a given population of persons who sustain a spontaneous pneumothorax, 75-80% are cigarette smokers. This may not confirm, but it definitely suggests a cause and effect relationship between smoking and spontaneous lung collapse. Of all persons who have a spontaneous pneumothorax, 50% will have a recurrence within 2-5 years. This reflects some abnormality of lung structure to begin with and so is different than your traumatic situation.
In your case of a traumatic pneumothorax, there was a strong likelihood that you also had some bleeding into your chest and the result of that would be to cause adherence between your lung and the chest wall. That adherence would lessen the likelihood of your having a spontaneous lung collapse.
I could find no good reports on the likelihood of recurrent collapse following trauma but, because of the preceding statement the likelihood would be low. One can only guess whether smoking would override that and, while a guess, 5% or less might be in the “ballpark” but I wouldn’t count on it. There are so many better reasons to quit smoking thay the concern you’ve expressed is relatively of much smaller concern.
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