Clinical Pulmonary Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/CPM.0b013e3181d269aa
Colleagues in Respiratory Medicine

Lung Trauma

Magret, Monica MD

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Trauma remains the leading cause of death in developed countries in people younger than 45 years of age. Among trauma injuries blunt chest trauma is the second most frequent cause of death; almost 25% of all trauma patients who eventually die have trauma as a predominant or contributing factor. Blunt trauma injuries of the lung include lung contusions, lacerations, hematomas, and pulmonary vascular injuries. Here we review all blunt trauma injuries of the lung and focus especially on lung contusions. In more than 75% of cases, lung contusion is associated with rib fractures and flail chest. Lung contusion is an important clinical entity; it is an independent risk factor for the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pneumonia, and long-term respiratory dysfunction, and is associated with a mortality rate of 10% to 25%. The main complications of lung contusion are respiratory failure, pneumonia, and ARDS. Though lung contusion is one of the independent risk factors for developing ARDS, alongside higher Injury Severity Score, large transfusion requirement, hypotension at admission, and advanced age, it does not seem to have a higher mortality rate. Treatment consists of judicious crystalloid or colloid resuscitation, epidural analgesia, and both non-invasive and invasive mechanical ventilation.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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