Damage control surgery in lung trauma
Main Article Content
Damage control techniques applied to the management of thoracic injuries have evolved over the last 15 years. Despite the limited number of publications, information is sufficient to scatter some fears and establish management principles. The severity of the anatomical injury justifies the procedure of damage control in only few selected cases. In most cases, the magnitude of the physiological derangement and the presence of other sources of bleeding within the thoracic cavity or in other body compartments constitutes the indication for the abbreviated procedure. The classification of lung injuries as peripheral, transfixing, and central or multiple, provides a guideline for the transient bleeding control and for the definitive management of the injury: pneumorraphy, wedge resection, tractotomy or anatomical resection, respectively.
Identification of specific patterns such as the need for resuscitative thoracotomy, or aortic occlusion, the existence of massive hemothorax, a central lung injury, a tracheobronchial injury, a major vascular injury, multiple bleeding sites as well as the recognition of hypothermia, acidosis or coagulopathy, constitute the indication for a damage control thoracotomy. In these cases, the surgeon executes an abbreviated procedure with packing of the bleeding surfaces, primary management with packing of some selected peripheral or transfixing lung injuries, and the postponement of lung resection, clamping of the pulmonary hilum in the most selective way possible. The abbreviation of the thoracotomy closure is achieved by suturing the skin over the wound packed, or by installing a vacuum system. The management of the patient in the intensive care unit will allow identification of those who require urgent reintervention and the correction of the physiological derangement in the remaining patients for their scheduled reintervention and definitive management.
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