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Blunt thoracic injury, Chest wall reconstruction, Open pneumothorax



  1. McClintick, Colleen M. BSN, RN


Cases of open pneumothorax have been documented as early as 326 BC. Until the last 50 years, understanding of the epidemiology and treatment of penetrating chest trauma has arisen from military surgery. A better understanding of cardiopulmonary dynamics, advances in ventilatory support, and improvement in surgical technique have drastically improved treatment and increased the survival rate of patients with penetrating thoracic trauma. Open pneumothorax is rare in blunt chest trauma, but can occur when injury results in a substantial loss of the chest wall. This case study presents an adolescent who sustained a large open pneumothorax as a result of being run over by a car. Early and appropriate surgical intervention coupled with coordinated efforts by all members of the trauma team resulted in a positive outcome for this patient.