[Thoracic Surgical Aspects of Seriously Injured Patients]

Melanie Toffel, Martin Pin, Corinna Ludwig
Zentralblatt Für Chirurgie 2020, 145 (1): 108-120
The therapy of severely injured patients is demanding and promising only in an interdisciplinary context. From a thoracic surgical perspective, the blunt chest trauma is in the foreground; as it is the 2nd leading cause of death after traumatic brain injury. The first step is to identify the potentially life-threatening injury and its treatment (airway obstruction, prevention of gas exchange, tension pneumothorax, serious bleeding complications in lung-/vascular injuries). Pneumothorax or tension pneumothorax is present in 20% of all polytrauma patients and 50% of all patients with severe chest trauma. In most cases, the use of a chest tube is sufficient in the acute phase (90%). For complex injuries with persistent thoracic haemorrhage and haemodynamic instability of the patient or pleural fistulization with increasing skin emphysema, surgical treatment should be performed at an early interval. Nevertheless, emergency thoracotomy is rarely required at this early stage.

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