Lung question (pneumothorax)

I was wondering if anyone here had advice about how I could help my roommate, who’s been sick. (She’s also my friend, and I’m worried about her!)
She’s had her left lung collapse 5 times in the last two months. They’ve done surgery twice–once a fairly unagressive surgery where they tried to glue her lung to her chest so it wouldn’t happen again. Well it did, three more times. Last week they did the same thing again, only more aggressively. Her surgeon said her lung should never collapse again.
But tonight she thinks it has collapsed again and she feels pretty weak. (She’s going to the doctor tomorrow). Anyway, she’s very down about this, understandably. She’s 28, otherwise healthy, and just desperate for more information about what’s going on.
Of course her main resources are her doctors, but she seems to have a different one every time she goes to the hospital, and they just tell her that they don’t know what’s causing it. I’m sure this is true, but is there some source of decent information on this subject I could help her get to? She’s found some stuff on her own on the internet, but I don’t know how reliable it is.
I think at this point she is ready to trudge down to the medical school library and look stuff up on her own. She’s an artist…not a person with a medical or bio background. I wish I could help somehow!
If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it.

Hi Andrea,
She needs to find a good thoracic surgeon (a general surgeon can usually treat this but she is beyond that point) who can find out why her pleural space isn’t sealing.

Thanks! I will tell her that, although luckily the current signs seem to be that she’s improving.

I am a PA doing thoracic surgery for the last 3 years…I have yet to see any surgeon let someone go beyond 2 recurrences before taking someone to the OR. She needs a bleb resection, not just a pleurodesis, which sounds like what she had.
It should be pretty apparent when you get into the chest (this is commonly done via thoracoscopy, not thoracotomy) where the leak is, put a stapler across it and take it out. She would need a chest tube for 24-48 hours. In very rare cases, after a video bleb resection, people recur and then they need a lobectomy, but that is very extreme…never heard of that in someone so young.
Let me know what happens. If you have any other questions, lemme know. Hope this helps.
Jeff K