Chest stabbing / penetrating injury


Chest stabbing flow 1

Indications for thoracotomy in traumatic cardiac arrest

Blunt trauma

  • Patient arrives at ED with pulse, BP & and spontaneous resps and then witnessed cardiac arrest

Penetrating cardiac trauma

  • Witnessed cardiac arrest in ED or
  • Patient arrives in ED after <5 minutes of out-of-hospital CPR and with positive secondary signs of life (e.g., pupillary reflexes, spontaneous movement, organized ECG activity)

Penetrating thoracic (non cardiac) trauma

  • Witnessed cardiac arrest in ED or
  • <15 minutes of out-of-hospital CPR and with positive secondary signs of life (e.g., pupillary reflexes, spontaneous movement, organized ECG activity)

Exsanguinating abdominal vascular trauma

  • Witnessed cardiac arrest in ED or
  • Arrives with positive secondary signs of life (e.g., pupillary reflexes, spontaneous movement, organized ECG activity)   plus
  • Resources available for definitive repair of abdominal-vascular injuries


Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 05/03/01.   Reviewed by Dr ÍOS 10/07/2004, 03/10/2006. Last review Dr ÍOS 21/06/21.