Your car probably has a few safety features, including seat belts and airbags. In a collision, these safety features may save your life. Unfortunately, though, they may also cause you to sustain internal injuries. If your torso collides with your seat belt, air bag or anything else, a punctured lung is possible.

A puncture is a hole in the lung that interferes with normal functionality. Because your survival depends on effectively breathing oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, a punctured lung is a medical emergency. If you do not receive immediate care, the condition may be fatal.

Symptoms of a punctured lung

Following any type of motor vehicle accident, it is advisable to seek a medical evaluation. After all, you may not realize you have sustained a serious injury until hours, days or even weeks after the collision.

Still, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a punctured lung or another serious chest injury:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Fast heart rate
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale or blue skin
  • Fatigue

Treatment options

Obtaining emergency medical care likely improves your odds of surviving a punctured lung. In the hospital, doctors have a variety of ways to treat the injury.

With minor lung punctures, doctors may give you oxygen until the wound heals on its own. For more serious injuries, surgery or other invasive medical procedures may be necessary.

Doctors may recommend additional treatment options based on your medical history or pre-existing conditions. Regardless, you may require therapy or rehabilitation to recover completely from your accident-related punctured lung.