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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 10(3); 1999 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 1999;10(3): 403-412.
Treatment Modality in Patients with Traumatic Pericardial Effusion
Jun Hwi Cho, Kang Hyun Lee, Bum Jin Oh, Seong Whan Kim, Gu Hyun Kang, Sung Oh Hwang, Seung Il Park, Eun Gi Kim, Eun Seok Hong
BACKGROUND: Current guidelines of advanced trauma life support recommend open thoracotomy when pericardiocentesis reveals bloody pericardial effusion in patients with blunt chest trauma. However, open thoracotomy may not be always required for treating patients alive until arriving emergency department, because rapid accumulation of the blood into pericardial space results in immediate death at scene. We report our experiences of treating traumatic pericardial effusion, and discuss the therapeutic modality in patients with traumatic pericardial effusion.
The study consisted of 37 patients(20 males and 17 females with the mean age 42) sustaining traumatic pericardial effusion. The patients were divided according to treatment modality into 3 groups(group I : patients receiving conservative management, group II : patients treated with pericardiocentesis, group III : patients required emergency thoracotomy). We compared clinical presentations, hemodynamic profiles and echocardiographic findings among three groups.
Cardiac tamponade was present in 14 of 37 patients. Pericardiocentesis was performed in 13 patients, and open thoracotomy in 4 patients. Pericardiocentesis was curative in 9 patients. Thoracotomy was performed in only 3(24%) of 13 patients required pericardiocentesis. 3(75%) of 4 patients having moderate or severe pericardial effusion from penetrating injury were required open thoracotomy.
In selected patients who have traumatic pericardial effusion by blunt chest injury, pericardiocentesis may be curative, and thoracotomy may not be inquired as long as bleeding via indwelling pericardial catheter is not sustained after pericardiocentesis.
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