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Damage Control for Thoracic Trauma

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Damage control surgery involves an abbreviated operation followed by resuscitation with planned re-exploration. Damage control techniques can be used in thoracic trauma but has been infrequently reported. Our goal is to describe our experience with the use of damage control techniques in treating thoracic trauma. A retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing damage control thoracic surgery related to trauma from January 1, 2010, to January 1, 2013, at University of Louisville Hospital, a Level I trauma center. Variables studied included injury characteristics, Injury Severity Score, surgery performed, duration of packing, length of stay (LOS), ventilator days, transfusion requirements, complications, and mortality. Twenty-five patients underwent damage control surgery in the chest with packing, temporary closure, and planned re-exploration after stabilization. Seventeen patients underwent anterolateral thoracotomy, and eight patients underwent sternotomy. The mean LOS and duration of temporary packing was 20.6 and 1.4 days in the thoracotomy group, respectively, and 19.5 and 1 day in the sternotomy group, respectively. The overall mortality rate was 40 per cent, 35 per cent in the thoracotomy group and 50 per cent in the sternotomy group. Like in severe abdominal trauma, damage control techniques can be used in the management of severe thoracic injuries with acceptable results.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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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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