SUN TEN Quarterly Newsletter Spring 2012: Two Cases of Thoracic Diseases with Clinical Results


Two Cases of Thoracic Diseases with Effective Clinical Results


by Dr. Jyh-Sheng You

Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital 



The thoracic dis­eases in this article refer to spontane­ous pneumothorax and tuberculosis. Spontaneous pneu­mothorax is a com­monly seen clinical emergency case of high incidence. Mod­ern medicine uses thoracentesis to eliminate gas or surgical methods to cure or allevi­ate the condition. However, the recurrence rate is high. Tradi­tional Chinese medicine refers to spontaneous pneumothorax as “chest pain” or “lung distention” and tuberculosis as “lung consumption”.


Tuberculosis is a consumptive disease caused by the con­traction of tuberculin which corrode the lungs, cause chronic infection, and weaken the healthy Qi. The main clinical symptoms are coughing, coughing up blood, tidal fever, night sweat, and emaciation.


Case Study

[Case 1]

Mr. Chiu, a 42 year-old worker with a chief complaint of chest pain for one week, suffered difficult breathing when he moved as well as asthmatic coughing. He went to the emer­gency room at NTU Hospital, was diagnosed with pneumo­thorax, and had chest tubes put in. The symptoms alleviated after three days and then he was discharged. Unfortunately he started to have symptoms like coughing when moving or talking, chest oppression, and chest pain only two days after the discharge. He didn’t want to have the chest tubes put in to eliminate the gas again, so he came to our TCM outpa­tient clinic on 3/6/2000. The patient has always been healthy with the exception that he is a hepatitis B carrier. He has no history of fever or external injuries.


Examination: The thorax was slightly asymmetric; the breathing sound in the right lung was clearly weakened and had a drum-like sound upon knocking. The left lung was nor­mal. His tongue was red with a thick greasy yellow coating and slight teeth marks. His left pulse was slippery and rapid and his right pulse was wiry and rapid; yet when pressed deeply, it could not be felt. He was diagnosed with spontaneous pneu­mothorax and his disease pattern was differentiated as Qi and Yin deficiency with phlegm-heat harassing the interior. The treatment methods selected were to boost Qi, nourish Yin, and rectify Qi to dissolve phlegm.



Pattern of Interior Disturbance of Phlegm-Heat


Prescription: TID for 7 days


After seven days, his symptoms weren’t clearly improved so he was referred to the Thoracic Surgery outpatient clinic for treatments. When the surgeon viewed his thoracic X-ray, a pulmonary resection was recommended. However, he refused it and returned to the TCM clinic.


Examination: It was discovered that his coughs were dry and he had right rib-side referring pain. His tongue was red and slightly dry with a thin, yellow coating. He still had a rapid pulse that could not be felt with deep pressure. The treatment methods were to boost Qi, nourish Yin, rectify Qi, and invigorate blood.


His symptoms were greatly improved after one week so he continued with the formula for another two weeks. A new thoracic X-ray showed that his right lung had completely opened up back to normal. We followed up after two years and his symptoms never relapsed.


Prescription: TID for 7 days



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[Case 2] for members only

[Diagnosis and Treatment Rational] for members only

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