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Role of Early Thoracoscopy for Management of Penetrating Wounds of the Chest

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Most nonlife-threatening penetrating wounds of the chest (PWC) are treated with a chest tube alone. This may be inadequate because missed injuries, retained hemothorax, or foreign material may be difficult to address later. Early thoracoscopy should improve outcome. We conducted a retrospective review of 88 stable patients with PWC initially treated with a chest tube and had retained a hemothorax beyond 48 hours. Twenty-seven underwent an early video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS). Fifty-five were observed, chest tubes were manipulated, or an additional one placed. The outcome was compared with the National Trauma Data Bank and controlled for Injury Severity Score. Early VATS reduced length of stay (4.3 vs 9.4 days), days in the intensive care unit (1.3 vs 3.2), and open thoracotomy (0 vs 7). A chest tube undertreats a nonlife-threatening PWC correctable by timely VATs.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Surgery, University of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, USA 2: Department of Surgery, Huron Hospital/Cleveland Clinic, East Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2010

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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