Fact on Chest Injuries
A chest injury can occur as the result of an accidental or deliberate penetration of a foreign object into the chest. This type of injury can also result from a blunt trauma, leading to chest wall injury (causing rib bruises, fracture, lung or heart contusions).
What Are the Symptoms of Chest Injury?
- Difficulty breathing, failure of the chest to expand normally, crunching sounds in the ribs, bruising, and coughing up blood indicate a chest injury.
- One segment of the chest wall may not move with breathing or move opposite to the rest of the chest wall (flail chest).
- Even without an obvious external injury, a significant internal injury can occur.
What Is the Treatment for Chest Injuries?
- An object that remains in the chest injury should not be removed.
- An airtight dressing such as tin foil or a plastic sack should be used as quickly as possible to cover any hole that extends into the chest cavity.
- The injured person should be positioned with the injured side down.
- The injured person should be given pure oxygen to breathe.
- The neck and back of the injured person should be immobilized after a possible chest injury.
- CPR may be necessary.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
"Initial evaluation and management of chest wall trauma in adults"