Chest Trauma: Current Recommendations for Rib Fractures, Pneumothorax, and Other Injuries

  • Michelle Kim
  • James E. MooreEmail author
Anesthesia for Trauma (TE Grissom, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Anesthesia for Trauma
  2. Anesthesia for Trauma


Purpose of Review

This article provides an overview of the common and important chest injuries that the anesthesiologist may encounter in patients following trauma including blunt injury, pneumothorax, hemothorax, blunt aortic injury, and blunt cardiac injury.

Recent Findings

Rib fractures are frequently associated with chest injury and are associated with significant pain and other complications. Regional anesthesia techniques combined with a multimodal analgesic strategy can improve patient outcomes and reduce complications. There is increasing evidence for paravertebral blocks for this indication, and the myofascial plane blocks are a popular emerging technique. Recent changes to recommended management of tension pneumothorax are also described.


Chest trauma is commonly encountered, and anesthesiologists have the potential to significantly improve morbidity and mortality in this group of patients.


Chest trauma Thoracic trauma Rib fractures Pneumothorax Tension pneumothorax 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Jemimah Walker for her review of the manuscript, and Mark Weiber for producing the illustration.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maryland School of MedicineR. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma CenterBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Consultant Anaesthetist, Intensive Care Physician & Director of Trauma ServicesWellington HospitalWellingtonNew Zealand

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