tension pneumothorax is an immediate life-threatening emergency.
Because the patient can speak, a patent airway can be assumed. Because
a clinical diagnosis can be made, it is unacceptable to wait for chest
radiography or other studies. Tension pneumothorax requires urgent
decompression, which is accomplished by rapid insertion of a large-bore
needle into the second intercostal space in the midclavicular line of
the affected hemithorax.5 This simple maneuver has few serious
consequences, even in the absence of a tension pneumothorax. Definitive
treatment of such an injury will mandate a formal tube thoracostomy.
All airway and breathing problems should be addressed before focusing
on managing the patients circulation.5
- Perform needle decompression of the right pleural space.
5. American College of Surgeons. Advanced Trauma Life
Support course instructors manual. 6th ed. Chicago: The College;
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