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Chest Trauma, Blunt, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Significant source of morbidity and mortality in US

  • ∼12 thoracic trauma victims per million population per day

  • ∼33% of these injuries require hospital admission.

  • Directly responsible fo...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Obvious contusion, wound, or other defect of the chest wall

  • Paradoxical chest wall movement suggests flail chest segment.

  • Usually occurs in combination with other injuries

  • Hyp...



  • All patients with any signs of life in the field should be transported to a trauma center.

  • Full spinal precautions should be employed.

  • Needle decompression is indicated for tension...



Admission Criteria

  • Patients with conduction blocks, frequent ectopy, or ischemic changes visible on EKG should be admitted to a monitored setting for possible myocardial contusion.

  • ...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Blunt chest trauma is responsible for up to 1/4 of all trauma-related deaths.

  • Trauma patients arriving at a nontrauma center should be stabilized and transferred to facilities that ...

Additional Reading

  • American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular. Circulation.  2010;122(18 suppl 3)

  • Centers for Disease Control and Preventi...



  • 807.4 Flail chest

  • 922.1 Contusion of chest wall

  • 959.11 Other injury of chest wall

  • 862.8 Injury to multiple and unspecified intrathoracic organs, without mention of open wound into cavity


  • S2...

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