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J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2008 Jan;1(1):34-41. doi: 10.4103/0974-2700.41789.

Principles of diagnosis and management of traumatic pneumothorax.

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1
Departments of Postgraduate Medicine and Anaesthesiology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.

Abstract

Presence of air and fluid with in the chest might have been documented as early as Fifth Century B.C. by a physician in ancient Greece, who practiced the so-called Hippocratic succession of the chest. This is due to a development of communication between intrapulmonary air space and pleural space, or through the chest wall between the atmosphere and pleural space. Air enters the pleural space until the pressure gradient is eliminated or the communication is closed. Increasing incidence of road traffic accidents, increasing awareness of healthcare leading to more advanced diagnostic procedures, and increasing number of admissions in intensive care units are responsible for traumatic (noniatrogenic and iatrogenic) pneumothorax. Clinical spectrum of pneumothorax varies from asymptomatic patient to life-threatening situations. Diagnosis is usually made by clinical examination. Simple erect chest radiograph is sufficient though; many investigations are useful in accessing the future line of action. However, in certain life-threatening conditions obtaining imaging studies can causes an unnecessary and potential lethal delay in treatment.

KEYWORDS:

Diagnosis and management; pneumothorax; trauma

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