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A collection of blood in the pleural cavity.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Hemothorax

Blood also can build up in the pleural space. This condition is called a hemothorax (he-mo-THOR-aks). An injury to your chest, chest or heart surgery, or lung or pleural cancer can cause a hemothorax.

A hemothorax can put pressure on the lung and cause it to collapse. A hemothorax also can cause shock. In shock, not enough blood and oxygen reach your body's vital organs. NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Real-time two-dimensional ultrasound guidance for central venous cannulation: a meta-analysis

BACKGROUND: Use of ultrasound-guided techniques to facilitate central venous cannulation (CVC) may reduce the risk of misplacement and complications. A meta-analysis was conducted to compare real-time two-dimensional ultrasound (RTUS) guidance technique with anatomical landmark technique for CVC to determine whether RTUS has any advantages.

Video-assisted thoracoscopy as an important tool for trauma surgeons: a systematic review

The review concluded that video-assisted thoracoscopy is an effective treatment for retained haemothoraces or other complications of chest trauma. Most of the included studies were small case series; quality assessment results were not reported. The authors' conclusions may not be reliable due to differences between the included studies and limited results presented for the individual studies.

Assessment on Implantable Defibrillators and the Evidence for Primary Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death [Internet]

Implantable cardioverter–defibrillators (ICDs) are battery-powered implantable devices that monitor heart rhythm and deliver therapy in the form of either electric shock or antitachycardia pacing (ATP) when a life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia is detected. ICDs have been used in patients who survived sustained ventricular arrhythmias to prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD). In recent years, ICDs have also been implanted for primary prevention (prevention of SCD in a patient who has not had yet had sustained ventricular tachyarrhythmia but has risk factors for it). ICDs may also include cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) for additional treatment of heart failure in patients with dyssynchronous ventricles.

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Summaries for consumers

Active compression‐decompression using a hand‐held device for emergency heart massage

During standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation (heart massage) for cardiac arrest (arrest of the heart), the chest is compressed manually and repeatedly by hand. This is a temporary method that pumps blood and oxygen to the brain via the heart. During standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the chest is not manually decompressed. Active chest compression‐decompression is an alternative method of heart massage and uses a hand‐held suction device to compress the chest, then decompress the chest after each compression. Comparison of these techniques showed active chest compression‐decompression to have no advantage and some drawbacks compared to standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Terms to know

A tissue with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in fluid called plasma. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and carries away wastes.
A hollow area or hole. It may describe a body cavity (such as the space within the abdomen) or a hole in a tooth caused by decay.
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.
A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing.
Having to do with the chest.

More about Hemothorax

Photo of an adult

See Also: Pleurisy, Pneumothorax, Pleural Effusion

Other terms to know: See all 6
Blood, Cavity, Lungs

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