Computed tomography in the diagnosis of blunt thoracic injury

B Marts, R Durham, M Shapiro, J E Mazuski, D Zuckerman, M Sundaram, W B Luchtefeld
American Journal of Surgery 1994, 168 (6): 688-92

BACKGROUND: Computed tomography (CT) is an important diagnostic modality in the evaluation of blunt head and abdominal injuries, but it has not been routinely used to evaluate blunt chest trauma.

METHODS: One hundred seventy stable patients with blunt thoracic trauma were evaluated with chest x-ray (CXR), and subsequently by CT.

RESULTS: Of a total of 131 fractures, 53% were identified on initial CXR, 39% on CT, and 26% were not seen on either study. Twenty-one pneumothoraces were seen on CT but not on CXR. Chest tubes were placed in 8 patients and 12 patients were observed without incident. One hemothorax identified by CT scan alone required treatment. Four of 6 diaphragmatic injuries were seen on CT and 2 on CXR. Parenchymal abnormalities were apparent in 189 lung fields on CT and in 66 lung fields on CXR. Most represented atelectasis and did not require treatment. Altogether, CT scanning resulted in changes in management for 11 patients (6%).

CONCLUSIONS: Although CXR is less sensitive in detecting parenchymal and pleural injuries than CT, the majority of the injuries identified by CT alone are minor and require no treatment. CXR remains the primary modality for diagnostic evaluation of blunt thoracic trauma.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"