Pleural Disorders
Pleural Disorders

Pleural Disorders Recovery

As you recover from your treatment for a pleural disorder, it is important to follow your treatment plan. You may need to follow up with your healthcare provider regularly to monitor your condition. You will also want to take steps to prevent complications or a repeat pleural disorder.

Receive routine follow-up care

If your pleural disorder is caused by a disease such as COPD, be sure to follow the treatment plan for that condition.

  • Talk to your provider about how often you need to schedule follow-up visits. To monitor your condition, your doctor may recommend a chest X-ray 6 weeks after treatment.
  • See your provider a few weeks after a pneumothorax to make sure it has cleared up.
  • If you have a Heimlich valve, ask your provider how often it needs to be inspected by them.

If you have an IPC, or indwelling pleural catheter, to drain pleural fluid, it may stay in for a few months or longer. Infection is possible around the insertion site, but infections can usually be treated without removing the IPC.

Learn about other precautions to help you stay safe

If you have or have recently had a pneumothorax, your provider may recommend the following precautions to help you stay safe.

  • Avoid strenuous exercise and contact sports until your provider says it is safe.
  • Do not fly. Ask your provider when it is safe again to fly.
  • Do not go scuba diving unless your provider says you have zero risk of recurrence. If a pneumothorax recurs during diving, it can cause a tension pneumothorax, which is a life-threatening complication.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor about how to manage your delivery so that the pneumothorax does not get worse. Also talk about whether you should have surgery later to prevent another pneumothorax in a future pregnancy.

Prevent a repeat spontaneous pneumothorax event

After a spontaneous pneumothorax, you are at risk of having another spontaneous pneumothorax. People who have underlying lung disease are more likely to have another spontaneous pneumothorax.

Quitting smoking if you smoke and not starting if you do not smoke can help reduce your risk.

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