Management of primary blast injury

G J Argyros
Toxicology 1997 July 25, 121 (1): 105-15
Blast waves are produced following the detonation of munitions, the firing of large caliber guns, or from any type of explosion. These blast waves can be powerful enough to injure the individuals exposed to them. This type of injury is called primary blast injury (PBI) and the organs most vulnerable to PBI are the gas-filled organs, namely the ear, the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. The approach to the casualty with PBI is the same as it would be for any trauma victim, i.e. the initiation of life support measures. Attention should be directed to the common life-threatening manifestation of thoracic and abdominal PBI. Pulmonary manifestations would include hemorrhage, barotrauma and arterial air embolism, while abdominal manifestations would include hemorrhage and hollow organ rupture. Therapy is directed at the specific manifestations as well as avoiding additional iatrogenic injury.

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