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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2012 Jul;18(4):306-10. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2012.70194.

[A life-saving approach after thoracic trauma: emergency room thoracotomy].

[Article in Turkish]

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Ege University Faculty of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey.



In this article, the outcomes, indications and methods of emergency department service resuscitative thoracotomy in cardiac and/or respiratory arrest patients after thoracic trauma are discussed.


Between January 2004 and December 2010, nine resuscitative thoracotomies were performed after thoracic trauma in the emergency department of our hospital. The records of the patients were evaluated retrospectively.


A total of nine patients underwent resuscitative thoracotomy: five stab wounds, two traffic accidents, one fall from height, and one gunshot wound. Anterolateral thoracotomy in supine position was performed in all. Three patients had lung parenchymal laceration, three patients had cardiac laceration, two patients had intercostal vessel injury, and one patient had descending aorta injury. None of the four patients with blunt trauma recovered. Three of five patients with penetrating trauma were discharged after an average of eight days of follow-up, whereas two of them were lost perioperatively.


Emergency room thoracotomy can be performed in thoracic trauma cases who are in shock and have unresponsive hypotension despite large volume fluid and blood replacement and no time for transportation to the operating room. The results are better in penetrating trauma patients than in blunt trauma.

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