Thoracic and Cardiovascular Trauma


Thoracic injuries in children are relatively uncommon but result in a disproportionate percentage of morbidity and mortality compared with other traumatic injuries. They are frequently associated with other injuries and are often the result of mechanisms of high velocity and increased force [1]. Children, unlike adults, undergo constant physical and developmental change and any consideration of the injured child must take into account several factors including age related limitations on their communication skills and comprehension of their injuries, possible inability to cooperate with care, significant variation in vital signs by age and the potential of a life time of recovery.

The accurate diagnosis of life threatening thoracic and associated injuries in children is paramount. The initial signs of a thoracic injury in a child may be subtle and the diagnosis begins with a high index of suspicion and proceeds as indicated to the various imaging techniques that may be required to detect intrathoracic lesions. Children with significant thoracic injuries often need intensive monitoring along with hemodynamic and respiratory support.

This chapter discusses the epidemiology, diagnosis and immediate approach to children with thoracic injuries and the current management of specific injuries to the thorax.

see also Cardiac Injury, Pulmonary Injury, Chest Wall Injury, Tracheobronchial Injury, Aortic and Great Vessel Injury, Esophageal Rupture and Diaphragmatic Rupture.

Content in these topics is referenced in SCORE Thoracic Trauma overviewCardiovascular Trauma: Tamponade, Contusion, Arch Disruption, Peripheral Vascular Injuries overview

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Last updated: November 2, 2020