- To review the spectrum of injuries after chest trauma. - To discuss and illustrate the imaging findings in thoracic trauma including abnormalities of the chest wall,
heart and great vessels.
Thoracic injuries cause significant morbidity and mortality in trauma patients.
The abnormalities depend on the mechanism of injury and the organs affected.
Blunt trauma accounts for 90% of chest trauma cases; vehicle collisions and falls are the most common causes. Imaging is important in the diagnosis and management of chest trauma.
Chest radiography is the first line exam.
large pneumothoraces and hemothoraces may be quickly detected.
Chest radiographs can also show tube and...
Findings and procedure details
- Chest wall Chest radiographs may show only 40 to 50% of rib fractures.
Rib fractures are more common in older patients because their ribs are fairly inelastic. Look for transthoracic lung herniation,
the incidence increases with positive pressure ventilation. In case of upper rib fractures,
which indicate high energy trauma look for injuries of the aorta,
great vessels and brachial plexus . If lower rib fractures are present look for liver,
spleen or kidneys injuries (Fig 2,
3 and 4)....
The radiologist should be familiar with the spectrum of imaging findings in chest trauma.
CT is the gold standard technique for the evaluation of these patients as detects pathology in patients with normal chest radiography and can change the management in patients with abnormal initial radiography.
Multidetector CT of blunt thoracic trauma.
Radiographics 2008; 28:1555-69. 2.
Chest radiography in thoracic polytrauma.
2009; 192:599–612. 3.
Ryan T.; Avery,
Emergency Radiology: The Requisites. Second edition.