What is the role of chest CT in the evaluation of traumatic and tension pneumothorax?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Brian J Daley, MD, MBA, FACS, FCCP, CNSC; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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Answer

CT can detect occult pneumothorax in patients in trauma and emergency surgery settings. If the patient requires mechanical ventilation and/or anesthesia, all participants should be made aware of the findings; sometimes, prophylactic tube thoracostomy may be performed. [41, 42] This modality has also been shown to be more sensitive than radiography for hemothorax and pulmonary contusion.

Collapse of the lung, air in the pleural cavity, and deviation of mediastinal structures are present in tension pneumothorax.


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