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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Punctured Lung and COPD

09/09/2010

Question:

My father believes that his COPD was caused by a punctured lung resulting from a fall from a ladder. It was while he was hospitalized for the injury that he was diagnosed with COPD. He had been a heavy smoker for about forty years prior. He doesn`t want to admit that it was the smoking that caused his COPD. Is it even remotely possible that the punctured lung caused it, or caused it to worsen substantially?

Thank you.

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. COPD is caused by smoking. A pneumothorax (or punctured lung) does not cause COPD.

Many people do not realize they have COPD until they have an event that causes them to do less activity for a short time. That short time off their feet (surgery, an illness, hospitalization, etc) can be enough for the person to become de-conditioned and more aware of their symptoms, so they point to that as the time they first noticed the problem. In your father's case, he likely had COPD for many years; falling off the ladder was the event that leads to him being diagnosed.

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Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University