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Pneumothorax and Barotrauma

Pneumothorax and Barotrauma is a topic covered in the Pocket ICU Management.

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First Things First (assess for & treat the following)

  • Recognize pressure-related injury. Alveolar rupture causes gas to dissect along the bronchovascular bundle, causing:
    • Pneumothorax/tension pneumothorax
    • Bronchopleural fistula
    • Lung & subpleural air cysts
    • Pulmonary interstitial emphysema
    • Pneumomediastinum
    • Pneumoperitoneum/pneumoretroperitoneum
    • Subcutaneous emphysema
    • Systemic gas embolism
  • Is urgent intervention needed?
    • Cardiac arrest (pulseless electrical activity)
    • Shock (BP < 80 mmHg; pulse >120)
    • Respiratory compromise (hypoxemia/hypercapnia)
      • Inability to ventilate; increased plateau (static pressure)
  • Radiographic abnormality only?
    • Careful monitoring required
    • Pneumomediastinum & subcutaneous emphysema have risk of pneumothorax.
    • Pneumothorax in mechanically ventilated patient requires a chest tube.

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Last updated: May 12, 2010


"Pneumothorax and Barotrauma." Pocket ICU Management, PocketMedicine.com, Inc, 2010. Anesthesia Central, anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534088/all/Pneumothorax_and_Barotrauma.
Pneumothorax and Barotrauma. Pocket ICU Management. PocketMedicine.com, Inc; 2010. https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534088/all/Pneumothorax_and_Barotrauma. Accessed April 21, 2019.
Pneumothorax and Barotrauma. (2010). In Pocket ICU Management. Available from https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534088/all/Pneumothorax_and_Barotrauma
Pneumothorax and Barotrauma [Internet]. In: Pocket ICU Management. PocketMedicine.com, Inc; 2010. [cited 2019 April 21]. Available from: https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534088/all/Pneumothorax_and_Barotrauma.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Pneumothorax and Barotrauma ID - 534088 Y1 - 2010/05/12/ BT - Pocket ICU Management UR - https://anesth.unboundmedicine.com/anesthesia/view/Pocket-ICU-Management/534088/all/Pneumothorax_and_Barotrauma PB - PocketMedicine.com, Inc DB - Anesthesia Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -