Chest Injuries, Blunt
One-fourth of all trauma deaths in the United States result from chest injuries. Many are blunt chest injuries, which include myocardial contusion and rib and sternal fractures that may be simple, multiple, displaced, or jagged. Such fractures may cause potentially fatal complications, such as hemothorax, pneumothorax, hemorrhagic shock, and diaphragmatic rupture.
Most blunt chest injuries result from motor vehicle accidents. Other common causes include sports and blast injuries.
Signs and symptoms
A history of trauma with dyspnea, chest pain, and other typical clinical features suggest a blunt chest injury. A physical examination and diagnostic tests determine the extent of injury.
Blunt chest injuries call for immediate physical assessment, control of bleeding, maintenance of a patent airway, adequate ventilation, and fluid and electrolyte balance.
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