Traumatic chest injuries include pneumothorax, hemothorax, cardiac tamponade, flail chest, ruptured bronchus, open wound, and ruptured aorta. Occasionally, these injuries may co-exist within the same patient. Traumatic hemothorax may follow either blunt or penetrating trauma. If a peripheral pulmonary laceration is sustained, the bleeding may stop spontaneously after the lung is re-expanded and the pleural space evacuated since the pulmonary vasculature is a low pressure system relative to the systemic circulation. Torn intercostal or internal mammary vessels or central lung injuries, on the other hand, may cause persistent hemorrhage requiring surgical intervention. Altogether, only 10% of patients with traumatic hemothorax require thoracotomy.
KeywordsCardiac Tamponade Pleural Space Pulmonary Vasculature Tension Pneumothorax Flail Chest
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