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Initial assessment of chest X-ray in thoracic trauma patients: Awareness of specific injuries

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Author(s): Tjeerd S Aukema | Ludo FM Beenen | Falco Hietbrink | Luke PH Leenen

Journal: World Journal of Radiology
ISSN 1949-8470

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 48;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Thoracic radiography | Rib fractures | Hemothorax | Pneumothorax | Pulmonary contusion

ABSTRACT
AIM: To compare the reported injuries on initial assessment of the chest X-ray (CXR) in thoracic trauma patients to a second read performed by a dedicated trauma radiologist. METHODS: By retrospective analysis of a prospective database, 712 patients with an injury to the chest admitted to the University Medical Center Utrecht were studied. All patients with a CXR were included in the study. Every CXR was re-evaluated by a trauma radiologist, who was blinded for the initial results. The findings of the trauma radiologist regarding rib fractures, pneumothoraces, hemothoraces and lung contusions were compared with the initial reports from the trauma team, derived from the original patient files. RESULTS: A total of 516 patients with both thorax trauma and an initial CXR were included in the study. After re-evaluation of the initial CXR significantly more lung contusions (53.3% vs 34.1%, P < 0.001), hemothoraces (17.8% vs 11.0%, P < 0.001) and pneumothoraces (34.4% vs 26.4%, P < 0.001) were detected. During initial assessment significantly more rib fractures were reported (69.8% vs 62.3%, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: During the initial assessment of a CXR from trauma patients in the emergency department, a significant number of treatment-dictating injuries are missed. More awareness for these specific injuries is needed.

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Tango Rapperswil

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