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Occult pneumothoraces in Chinese patients with significant blunt chest trauma: radiological classification and proposed clinical significance

Lee, Ryan K. L., Graham, Colin A., Yeung, Janice H. H., Ahuja, Anil T. and Rainer, Timothy 2012. Occult pneumothoraces in Chinese patients with significant blunt chest trauma: radiological classification and proposed clinical significance. Injury 43 (12) , pp. 2105-2108. 10.1016/j.injury.2012.04.009

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Abstract

Background: An occult pneumothorax (OP) is a pneumothorax not seen on a supine chest X-ray (CXR) but detected on abdominal or thoracic computed tomography (CT) scanning. With the increasing use of CT in the management of significantly injured trauma patients, more OPs are being detected. The aim of this study was to classify OPs diagnosed on thoracic CT (TCT) and correlate them with their clinical significance. Methods: Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected trauma registry data. Total 36 (N = 36) consecutive significantly injured trauma patients admitted through the emergency department (ED) who sustained blunt chest trauma and underwent TCT between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2008 were included. OP was defined as the identification (by a consultant radiologist) of a pneumothorax on TCT that had not been detected on supine CXR. OPs were classified by laterality (unilateral/bilateral) and location (apical, basal, non apical/basal). The size of pneumothoraces, severity of injury [including number of associated thoracic injuries and injury severity score (ISS)], length of hospital stay and mortality were compared between groups. The need for tube thoracostomy and clinical outcome were also analysed. Results: Patients with bilateral OPs (N = 8) had significantly more associated thoracic injuries (median: 2 vs. 1, p = 0.01), higher ISS (median: 35 vs. 23, p = 0.02) and longer hospital stay (median: 20 days vs. 11 days, p = 0.01) than those with a unilateral OP (N = 28). Basal OPs (N = 7) were significantly larger than apical (N = 10) and non-apical/basal Ops (N = 11). Basal OPs were associated with significantly more associated thoracic injuries (median: 2 vs. 1, p = 0.01), higher ISS (median: 35 vs. 25, p = 0.04) and longer hospital stays (median: 23 days vs. 17 days, p = 0.02) than apical Ops, which had higher ISS (median: 35 vs. 25, p = 0.04) and longer hospital stays (median: 23 days vs. 15 days, p = 0.02) than non-apical/basal OPs. Non-apical/basal OPs were associated with more related injuries (median: 2 vs. 1, p = 0.02) than apical OPs. All apical and non-apical/basal OPs were successfully managed expectantly without associated mortality. Conclusion: This TCT classification of OP is proposed to help clinicians to decide on subsequent management of the OP. Basal OPs are significantly larger in size, and both basal and bilateral OPs are associated with higher severity of injury and longer hospital stay. These groups of patient may benefit from prophylactic tube thoracostomy instead of conservative treatment. On the other hand, apical and non-apical/basal groups is smaller in size, less severely injured and thus can be successfully managed expectantly.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Additional Information: Occult pneumothorax; Radiological classification; Clinical significance; Computed tomography
ISSN: 0020-1383
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:15
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/92680

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