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Transcript
 Chest injuries
Recommend
 Do not remove any object sticking out of wound (eg. knife)
 Suspect tension pneumothorax in all patients where there is unexplained respiratory distress or shock
[1]
 Tension pneumothorax is a life threatening emergency and probably the commonest cause of
preventable death in the severely injured
Background
 Damage to the chest wall from:

broken ribs,

flail chest (where ribs have broken in two places leaving a broken “island” of chest wall)

if penetrating, an open chest wound
 Damage to blood vessels lining the chest wall can cause

blood to collect outside the lungs, inside the chest cavity (haemothorax)
 Damage to the lungs can cause:

breathing difficulties

bruising of the lung tissue (lung contusion)

air to escape from the lungs into the chest cavity (pneumothorax)

if this air is under pressure, it can cause deviation of the mediastinum – this is called “tension
pneumothorax”

“surgical emphysema” occurs if air spreads into the tissues
Related topics:
DRABC Resuscitation / the collapsed patient, page 35
O2 Delivery systems, page 39
 Severe injuries, page 95
Needle thoracentesis, page 104
Shock, page 51
1. May present with:
 Isolated chest injury secondary to blunt or penetrating trauma
 Pain
 Increased heart rate, respiratory distress, cyanosis
 Hypotension / shock
2. Immediate management:




DRABC Resuscitation / the collapsed patient
Give high flow oxygen see Oxygen delivery systems
Check BP and heart rate, respiratory rate, O2 saturation
Insert large bore IV cannula (14 g or 16 g, if possible). Insert the largest you can in the circumstances
Consult MO
3. Clinical assessment:
 If possible obtain a history of the circumstances of the injury from patient / witnesses
 Perform and monitor BP, heart rate, respiratory rate, O2 saturation, conscious state, capillary refill
 Record pain score (1-10)
 Inspect - for wounds, bruising or abrasions over chest
 Inspect chest movement on respiration eg. uneven or paradoxical movement (paradoxical movement
is where an area of chest wall moves in while the rest of the chest moves out and vice versa. This
indicates a “flail chest” and multiple fractured ribs)
 Auscultate the chest – is the air entry equal?
 Position of trachea; is it midline or to one side?
 The presence of local tenderness is adequate to diagnose fractured ribs. Do not spring rib cage
 “Surgical emphysema” – under the skin of the chest wall, clavicle area or neck (it feels like bubbles or
“crackling”). If present, suspect serious injury
 Perform chest X-ray if available
 Suspect the following injuries:
Patient in pain and
increasing respiratory
distress
Non penetrating causes (no open wounds)
increasing heart rate, falling BP, falling
GCS, unequal chest movement, trachea
deviated away from the affected side,
decreased air entry and hyper-resonance
on percussion noted on affected side,
distended neck veins
suspect
Tension
pneumothorax
Consider performing Needle
thoracentesis
Patient in pain and some
breathlessness but not
increasing respiratory
distress
may be unequal chest movement, trachea
may be deviated towards the affected side,
may be decreased air entry and increased
percussion noted on affected side
suspect
Simple
pneumothorax
increased heart rate, respiratory distress
and back crackles in chest
suspect
Lung contusion
Patient in pain and respiratory
distress with hypotension/shock
may be unequal chest movement, trachea
may be deviated away from the affected
side, may be decreased air entry and dull
percussion on affected side
suspect
Haemothorax
Patient in pain and respiratory
distress with paradoxical
movement of an area of the chest
wall
this means part of the chest wall moves in
when the patient breathes in, and out when
patient breathes out
suspect
Flail chest
Patient in pain worse on breathing
in and coughing, not breathless
localised chest wall, swelling and
tenderness
suspect
Broken rib
Penetrating (open) causes (including gunshot and stab wounds)
Possible haemothorax
Patient in pain & respiratory distress
an obvious wound to the chest with or
Do not remove any object sticking out of
without an object sticking out
wound (eg. knife).
Patient in pain & respiratory distress

4.
air sucking into chest
Open chest wound
Other possible complications include cardiac tamponade, aortic disruption, tracheo-bronchial
disruption, oesophageal disruption.
Management:
 Tension Pneumothorax
This is a life threatening emergency and probably the commonest cause of preventable death in the
severely injured. Tension pneumothorax requires urgent treatment. Consult MO unless circumstances do
not allow in which case notify MO as soon as circumstances allow
 perform Needle thoracentesis
 insert a 14 g IV cannula through upper chest wall (2nd intercostal space, midclavicular line) into
thoracic cavity just above the upper edge of the rib below (see diagram below)

if tension pneumothorax is present, air will escape with a rush from the pleural space under
pressure with an easing of respiratory distress












if patient has only partly improved or gets worse check the cannula has not kinked or the tension
pneumothorax may have recurred, or there may be a tension pneumothorax on the other side –
Consult MO; you may need to try again on the other side
the MO will insert a formal intercostal catheter prior to evacuation/hospitalisation and attach to
Heimlich valve or Portex ambulatory chest drainage system
Analgesia: see following page
Simple Pneumothorax
 consult MO
 monitor and await transfer
 MO will insert a formal intercostal catheter prior to evacuation / hospitalisation
 Analgesia: see following page
Haemothorax
 consult MO
 treat hypovolaemia, if respiratory distress ensues then treat as Tension Pneumothorax
 MO will advise quantities and rates of IV fluids to be given. It is usual to start with Normal Saline or
Hartmann’s Solution and follow with blood
 the MO will insert a formal intercostal catheter prior to evacuation / hospitalisation
 see Shock
 Analgesia: see following page
Flail Chest
 consult MO
 if a small segment – chest wall may be stabilised using a towel and nursing the patient on the
affected side
 continue to provide airway and ventilation support as per MO instructions
 if large, will require intubation and ventilation by MO prior to evacuation/hospitalisation in a facility
with intensive care capability
 Analgesia: see following page
Broken Rib
 consult MO who will likely advise oral analgesia, and review next day if no other injury
Penetrating (open injuries) (sometimes called Open Pneumothorax) including gunshot and stab
wounds
 do not remove any object sticking out of wound eg. knife. Pack around with gauze soaked in
Normal Saline and secure
 in the case of sucking chest wounds, seal the wound on three sides with Op-site or soft plastic
wrap (Glad wrap®). The idea is to create a valve effect, so that air can escape from, but not enter
the chest cavity (see diagram)
Consult MO who will advise antibiotics / analgesia and arrange evacuation
 the MO will insert a formal intercostal catheter prior to evacuation/hospitalisation in a facility with
appropriate surgical capability
Give patient nil by mouth
Keep patient warm
Analgesia :
 adults with severe pain require adequate analgesia. Intravenous is the preferred route of
administration for narcotic analgesics for severely injured patients
 if not allergic, give Morphine (preferable) or if allergic to Morphine give Fentanyl.
 if nauseated or vomiting give metoclopramide (adult)
 children should not receive Metoclopramide (Maxolon) or Prochlorperazine (Stemetil) because of
the high risk of dystonic reactions. If an antiemetic is required for a child the MO may advise
Ondansetron wafer 4mg

Children with pain require adequate analgesia. Early and appropriate doses of analgesia should
be given including Morphine or intranasal Fentanyl with adequate reassessment and monitoring.
Consult MO
Schedule
8
Morphine Sulphate
DTP
IHW / RIN / NP
Authorised Indigenous Health Workers must consult MO
Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses may proceed with the recommended dose
Nurse Practitioners may proceed
Route of
Restrictions/
Form
Strength
Recommended Dosage
Administration
conditions
Ampoule
10 mg/mL
IM
Adults only: 0.1-0.2 mg/kg up to a
Stat
maximum of 10 mg
Consult the Medical
OR
Officer if the patient
requires more than the
Ampoule
10 mg/ mL
IV
Adults only: 2.5 mg increments slowly,
recommended dose
(RIN only)
repeated every 10 min if required to a
maximum of 10 mg
Provide Consumer Medicine Information if available: Advise can cause nausea and vomiting, drowsiness
Management of Associated Emergency: Respiratory depression is rare. If it should occur give Naloxone as per poisoning:
opiates HMP. NB: as Naloxone counteracts the narcotic, it may cause the return of severe pain
If allergic to Morphine or significant renal disease give Fentanyl: N.B. Fentanyl has a rapid onset of
action
Schedule
8
Fentanyl
DTP
IHW / RIN / NP
Authorised Indigenous Health Workers must Consult MO
Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses may proceed with the recommended dose
Nurse Practitioners may proceed
Route of
Form
Strength
Recommended Dosage
Restrictions / conditions
Administration
Ampoule
100
IM
Adults only: 1.5 micrograms /
Stat
microgram/ 2
kg up to a maximum of 100 mcg
Consult the Medical Officer
mL
OR
if the patient requires more
Ampoule
100
IV
Adults only: 25 microgram increments than the recommended
dose
microgram/ 2
(RIN only)
slowly, repeated every 10 min if
mL
required to a max. of 100 microgram
Provide Consumer Medicine Information if available: Advise can cause nausea and vomiting, drowsiness
Management of Associated Emergency: Respiratory depression is rare. If it should occur give Naloxone as per Poisoning:
Opiates HMP NB: as Naloxone counteracts the narcotic, it may cause the return of severe pain
DTP
Schedule
4
Metoclopramide
IHW / RIP / NP
Authorised Indigenous Health Workers must consult MO
Rural and Isolated Practice Endorsed Registered Nurses may proceed
Nurse Practitioners may proceed
Route of
Form
Strength
Recommended Dosage
Duration
Administration
Ampoule
10 mg in
IM
Adults only: 10 mg
Stat - further doses should only be
2 mL
Or IV (RN only)
given on MO’s orders
Provide Consumer Medicine Information if available: Not for use in patients with Parkinson’s disease or children and caution in use
in women less than 20 years of age
Management of Associated Emergency: Dystonic reactions eg. oculogyric crisis are extremely rare (unless repeated doses or
in children). If oculogyric crisis develops give Benztropine 2 mg IMI or IVI as per Mental health emergencies.
5. Follow up:
 MO will advise ongoing management
 Consult MO if the patient has any symptoms, an increased heart rate, increased temperature or any
chest findings
6. Referral / Consultation:
 Consult MO with any findings above or if at high risk of serious injury because of circumstances:
 high speed vehicle
 ejection from vehicle
 death or serious injury of another occupant
 entrapment
 fall greater than 3 metres
 motorcycle or pedestrian struck by vehicle
 multi-casualty incident
 Prepare patient for evacuation via air or road to facility with capability to address chest injuries