Radiographic and CT findings in blunt chest trauma

J Thorac Imaging. 2000 Apr;15(2):87-96. doi: 10.1097/00005382-200004000-00003.


Injuries of the thorax are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in blunt trauma patients. Radiologic imaging plays an important role in the workup of the patient with thoracic trauma. The chest radiograph is the initial imaging study obtained, but computed tomography (CT) is now used frequently in the evaluation of chest trauma. The primary role of chest CT has been to assess for aortic injuries, but CT has been shown to be useful for the evaluation of pulmonary, airway, skeletal, and diaphragmatic injuries as well. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has a limited role in the initial evaluation of the trauma patient, but may be of use for the evaluation of the spine and diaphragm in patients who are hemodynamically stable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta, Thoracic / injuries
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diaphragm / injuries
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophagus / injuries
  • Humans
  • Radiography, Thoracic*
  • Respiratory System / injuries
  • Thoracic Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*