Published in Ann Emerg Med 2014 Oct 22
Authors: Slessor D and Hunter S.
About 1% survive overall, but survival approaches 0% if no vital signs are present.
Emergency department (ED) thoracotomy is considered a viable option after penetrating trauma, with good outcomes in more than 5% of patients. To determine its effect on survival after blunt trauma, investigators conducted a literature review. Twenty-seven articles, all case series, were included in the analysis.
Of 1369 patients, 21 (1.5%) survived with a good neurologic outcome. All 21 patients who survived had vital signs in the ED or prehospital setting.
ED thoracotomy is rarely effective after blunt trauma. It may be considered an option within the first few minutes after loss of vital signs.