Major penetrating thoracic trauma – The importance of collaboration between different specialties

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  • Amalie Lambert Kristensen
  • Ole Brink
  • Ivy Susanne Modrau
  • Eldrup, Nikolaj
  • Anette Højsgaard
  • Thomas Decker Christensen

Introduction: Penetrating thoracic trauma presents a rare and serious condition with great diversity in impalement mechanisms and following injuries, resulting in a high mortality. This case reports successful management of a severe thoracic trauma and need for collaboration between surgical specialties. Presentation of case: An 18-year-old, otherwise healthy, Caucasian female had penetration of the chest with a wooden post due to a solo car accident and was admitted to a Level 1 trauma center at a university hospital. Trauma computed tomography scan showed costa fractures and fracture of the left clavicular bone. Damage to the subclavian artery, the brachial plexus and pulmonary artery were suspected. Extracorporeal circulation was on standby at surgery. However, removal of the foreign object did not result in any major bleeding. The patient was discharged from hospital on the 19th day after surgery. Fifteen months after the trauma, surgery was performed to remove the first two costae on the left side, as a disfiguring prominence on the neck was the patients' only complaint. Discussion: Initial management of the patient should follow ATLS® principles with stabilization of airways, breathing and circulation. Multidisciplinary approach resulted in reconstruction of vessels, debridement and wound closure. The importance of follow-up after trauma and surgery are underlined by the current case, as the patient required additional surgery at follow up. Conclusion: Multidisciplinary approach to the current penetrating trauma resulted in rapid assessment of injuries and management with excellent outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100376
JournalTrauma Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Costa fractures, Multidisciplinary approach, Penetrating trauma, Subclavian vessel injury, Thoracic trauma

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