Severe thoracic trauma: Review of 39 cases

E. Carreras González, G. Carreras González, R. Álvarez Pérez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


Objective: To study the incidence and types of severe thoracic trauma in a cohort of pediatric polytrauma patients, compare cardiac contractility between patients with elevated troponin T levels and those with abnormal electrocardiogram (EKG) findings, and to analyze the value of thoracic computed tomography (CT) scan as a first investigation in patients with suspected thoracic trauma. Material and methods: We performed a 5-year retrospective study in a cohort of trauma patients with an injury severity score of ≥ 25. Thoracic trauma included pulmonary contusion, hemopneumothorax, large-vessel injury, myocardial contusion, and rib fracture. In all patients, EKG and determination of troponin T were performed at admission. Echocardiogram was performed in patients with troponin T levels ≥ 0.035 U/L (except in two patients, because the technique was not available) and abnormal EKG findings. A thoracic CT scan was performed in unconscious patients or when thoracic trauma was clinically suspected, as well as a simple thorax X-ray in the following 24 hours. Results: Among 209 multiple-trauma patients, thoracic injuries where detected in 39 patients. The most frequent injury was pulmonary contusion. Echocardiogram was performed in 10 patients with high troponin levels, with abnormal findings in eight patients. The six patients with EKG alterations also had high troponin levels and pathological findings on echocardiogram. Thoracic CT scan was performed in 81 patients, with abnormal findings in 36 patients. Thoracic lesions were observed in simple X-ray in three patients who had not undergone CT scan. Conclusions: The most frequent thoracic trauma was pulmonary contusion. The results of echocardiogram were abnormal in 80% of the patients with high troponin levels who underwent this examination. Thoracic CT scan was highly useful in suspected thoracic trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-558
JournalAnales de Pediatria
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


  • Myocardial contusion
  • Thoracic CT scan
  • Thoracic trauma
  • Troponin


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