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Chest Trauma

Lesson Four

MSTC, FT LEWIS WA
Introduction
► Penetrating chest injuries may result from:

 IEDs

 Gunshot wounds

 Schrapnel injuries

 Stab wounds

 Stick
Anatomy of the Thorax
►Trachea
►Lungs
►Bronchi
►Mediastinu
m

►Heart
Assess the casualty
► Identify signs and symptoms:

 Airway

 Breathing

 Circulation
Signs indicative of chest
injury
► Shock

► Cyanosis (bluish tint of lips, mouth, fingertips or nails)

► Dyspnea (shortness of breathing or difficulty breathing)

► Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)

► Open wounds (sucking or hissing sounds from the wound)

► Frothy blood around the wound

► Chest not rising normally when casualty inhales

► Pain in shoulder or chest that increases with breath


Flail Chest
► Two or more adjacent ribs are fractured in at
least two places or separation of sternum
from ribs
Cyanosis
Assess Respirations

► Respiratory rate and effort:

 Tachypnea

 Bradypnia

 Labored

 Retractions
Locate and Expose Open
Chest Wound
 Cut, Remove, or tear clothing over wound
 Do not remove stuck clothing
 Do not try to clean or remove objects from
wound

 Check for entry and exit wound (look and


feel)

 If entry and exit (same side), apply flutter-


valve seal (three taped sides) to the wound on
Assessing The Chest

 Compare both
sides of the
chest at the
same time when
assessing for
asymmetry.
Open Chest Wound
Open Chest Wound
Seal and Dress Open Chest
Wound
 Open field dressing wrapper

 Have casualty exhale


 Place wrapper over wound
 Tape wrapper in place
 Apply field dressing
 Secure dressing (tie directly
over the wound)
Open Chest Wound

 Position casualty on side with injured


side next
to ground
 Allow casualty to sit up if it is easier
 Seek medical help
 Monitor breathing
 Treat for shock
 Evacuate
Impaled Object
Impaled Object
► Ifthe casualty is unconscious or cannot
hold his breath, place the airtight
material over the wound after the chest
falls but before it rises.

► Ifthe casualty is conscious and wants to


sit upright, allow him to sit with his back
against a tree or other supporting object.
Open Pneumothorax
Open Pneumothorax
Open Pneumothorax

Petroleum Gauze
can also be used to
seal a sucking
chest wound.
Tension Pneumothorax

►Airenters thoracic space but


cannot escape, pressure builds
and further collapses the lung
and forces mediastinum and
heart away from effected lung.
May also compromise good lung
and major vessels to the heart.
Tension
Tension Pneumothorax
Pneumothorax
►Tension pneumothorax is the
second leading cause of preventable
death on the battlefield.

► Consider progressive, severe


respiratory distress resulting from
unilateral chest trauma to represent a
tension pneumothorax and
decompress.
Tension Pneumothorax

Air pushes over heart


and collapses lung

Air
outside
lung from
wound
Heart compressed not able
to pump well
Tension Pneumothorax
 Anxiety, agitation, apprehension

 Increasing dyspnea with cyanosis

 Tachypnea

 Tracheal shift (late sign)

 Distended neck veins

 Hypotension - loss of radial pulse

 Cool clammy skin, patient deteriorates rapidly

 These signs are hard to detect in a combat environment


Needle Chest
Decompression
► Indications

 Penetrating chest wound with


progressive respiratory distress
► Required Materials
 10 to 14 gauge I.V. needle w/catheter
2.5-3 in long
 Betadine or Alcohol Prep Pads
 1/2” Tape
Needle Chest
Decompression

A needle chest decompression is


performed ONLY if the casualty has
a penetrating wound to the chest and
increased difficulty breathing.
Performing a Needle
Chest Decompression
Obtain a large bore (14 ga) needle
and catheter unit and strip of tape
from your aid bag.
Tension Pneumothorax
► Burp the wound:

 If no capability of NCD exists and the


patient continues to have progressive
respiratory distress, remove the occlusive
dressing and stick a gloved finger into the
open wound and burp the wound.
Needle Chest
Decompression
► Review anatomy of the chest and identify
the following anatomical landmarks on
the side of the open wound & tension
pneumothorax
 Mid-clavicular line
 Second intercostal space
 superior edge of the 3rd rib
Needle Chest
Decompression
► Steps for performing the procedure:
 Casualty may be lying flat, sitting, etc. Casualty
positioning isn’t dependant on any specific position
for this procedure

 Site preparation may be accomplished by using


either alcohol and/or betadine prep pads to disinfect
the skin

 Using your index finger, trace the mid-clavicular line,


then identify the second intercostal space (between
the second and third rib) on the side of the tension
pneumothorax
Needle Chest
Decompression
► Steps for performing procedure:
 Insert the needle perpendicular to the chest
wall, directly over the top of the third rib until
a palpable pop is felt, followed immediately
by a hissing or air escaping from the chest
cavity

 A rush of air confirms the diagnosis and


rapidly improves the patient’s condition
Performing a Needle
Chest Decompression
Firmly insert the needle into the skin at a
90 degree angle.
Needle Chest
Decompression
Complications

Laceration of the intercostal


vessels or nerve may cause
hemorrhage or nerve damage
Questions????