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Flashcards in Trauma Deck (21):

Importance of gag reflex in trauma patient?

Indicates airway is most likely clear; if absent, inspect airway digitally


Signs of laryngeal edema?

Hoarseness, changing voice, Strider


Indications for intubation in trauma patient?

1. Severely depressed mental status
2. Glasgow coma score under nine
3. Inability to protect airway or tracheal/laryngeal trauma
4. Severely compromised respiratory mechanics (multiple rib fractures)


Glasgow coma scale – categories? (Maximum points?)

Eye-opening (4 points)
Verbal response (5 points)
Motor response (6 points)


A simple pneumothorax from trauma is usually due to? Management?

Open fracture that lacerates the visceral pleura and underlying lung parenchyma

Insertion of a large diameter chest tube


Patient with pneumothorax. Chest tube properly placed, but lung is not reinflating. Possible causes of this pneumothorax? Treatment?

1. Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia (must go to OR)
2. Lung adherent to parietal pleura with adhesions (place tube toward posterior, apical aspect of pleural space)


Where to place chest tube?

When to take out a chest tube?

Between fourth and fifth rib

When lung is fully inflated and no further air leak is apparent


Patient with pneumothorax. After insertion of chest tube, air continues to leak into chest tube over six hours. Lung only partially inflated. Likely Cause? Management?

Major airway injury with disruption of a bronchus or trachea

1. Bronchoscopy
2. Thoracotomy and partial lung resection


Patient with pneumothorax – when is a chest tube not necessary?

1. Not enlarging
2. No free fluid in the plural space
3. Patient is asymptomatic and has no other significant injuries (chest injuries, other fractures, trauma)


Patient with small pneumothorax – if goes to OR, what procedures can increase size of pneumothorax? How?

General anesthesia, intubation, assisted ventilation

Increases positive pressure in tracheobronchial tree


Patient presents post trauma. Absent breath sounds in right chest and blood pressure of 80/60. Distended neck veins. Suspected diagnosis? Mechanism resulting in hypotension? Management?

Tension pneumothorax

Air enters plural space, but can't leave – increasing pressure. Increased pressure inhibits minutes return, cardiac output drops, resulting in hypotension

1. Insertion of chest tube
2. If not possible, needle aspiration
3. After chest tube/needle aspiration, CXR


42-year-old man presents posttrauma. Ventilating/oxygenating well. Blood-pressure 80/60, heart rate 110, distended neck veins. Suspected diagnosis? Other expected signs? Management?

Cardiac tamponade (Not pneumothorax because good ventilation)

1. Optionally: pericardial ultrasound examination
2. Emergent pericardiocentesis (subxiphoid approach)
3. After initial drainage, pericardial window and examination in OR for source of bleeding


Physical exam signs in pericardial tamponade (not necessarily detectable in trauma patients)

1. Muffled heart sounds
2. Pulsus paradoxus (decrease in systolic BP of more than 10 mm on inspiration)
3. Kussmaul sign (increase in JVP during inspiration)

(JVP usually detectable)


Signs of myocardial contusion? Confirm with?

Arrhythmias and acute ECG changes

Cardiac enzymes/imaging


General physiologic changes from hemorrhages

Under 15% – few changes (Class I)

15-30% – tachycardia/increased pulse pressure (Class II)

30-40% – hypotension, tachycardia, decreased mentation (Class III)


Fracture associated with with several liters of blood loss into tissue?



Patient continues to remain hypotensive and unstable despite adequate fluid recitation – possible causes? next step?

1. Thoracic injury
2. Pelvic fracture
3. Long bone injury

Laparotomy or thoracotomy


Cushing reflex?

1. Injury causes brain swelling.
2. Brain swelling results in brain ischemia.
3. Ischemia leads to SNS stimulation, causing vasoconstriction (to maintain blood pressure and perfusion)
4. Vagus nerve is unaffected, and respond to increased blood pressure with PSN this simulation, causing Bradycardia


Hemodynamic effects to consider during pregnancy? and how to correct for them?

#Heart rate increases (20 BPM higher than third trimester)
#Uterus can compress vena cava causing hypotension (Evaluate blood pressure when patient is lying on left side)
#Plasma volume increases, hematocrit 31-35% is normal


Causes of bloody urine when attempting to put in foley?

#Urethral injury
#High riding prostate gland
#Penile/scrotal hematoma


What should you do before placing catheter in the male trauma patient? Why? Other test?

Perform rectal exam for prostatic injury

Catheter may complete a partially transected urethra and worsen trauma

Retrograde cystourethrogram