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Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2018 Nov;24(6):521-527. doi: 10.5505/tjtes.2018.76435.

A pathology not be overlooked in blunt chest trauma: Analysis of 181 patients with bilateral pneumothorax.

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



Bilateral pneumothorax (BPTx) can become tension PTx and a cause of mortality, especially in severe multi-trauma patients. The purpose of this study was to analyze the incidence, morbidity, mortality, and associated factors of BPTx in multi-trauma patients in order to highlight the importance of the management of these cases, as well as complications, morbidity, and mortality.


The data of 181 patients with BPTx, from a total of 3782 trauma patients, were reviewed retrospectively. The details recorded were age, gender, mechanism of trauma, radiological findings, co-existing thoracic and extra-thoracic injuries, incidence of intubation, mortality, and injury severity score (ISS). The association between laterality of rib fracture, hemothorax, subcutaneous emphysema, and BPTx, and the effect of age and gender on these injuries, mortality, and ISS were analyzed.


The patient group included 144 males, and the mean age was 36.07±15.77 years. The primary cause of trauma was a motor vehicle accident, seen in 67 (37.0%) patients. Bilateral rib fractures were detected in 75 (41.4%) patients. Hemothorax accompanied PTx in 41 (22.6%) patients bilaterally. The laterality of the rib fracture and hemothorax demonstrated a significant difference in the patient group over 60 years of age (p=0.017, p=0.005). Co-existing bilateral thoracic injuries were detected more often in this group. Twelve (17.6%) patients with only blunt chest trauma and 56 (82.4%) patients with multi-trauma were intubated. The difference between the 2 groups was not significant (p=0.532). The overall mortality rate was 18.2%. A comparison of ISS and mortality between the groups revealed no significant difference (p=0.22).


The incidence of BPTx after multi-trauma is approximately 5%, so it must be taken into consideration, especially in severe multi-trauma patients, to reduce mortality. Older age and the number of rib fractures were determined to be risk factors for morbidity and mortality in trauma with BPTx.

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