Lung contusion: pathophysiology and management

Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2002 Feb;15(1):65-8. doi: 10.1097/00001503-200202000-00010.


Management of severe pulmonary contusion is a challenge for clinicians. The incidence of adult respiratory distress syndrome (5-20%), pneumonia (5-50%), and mortality (5-10%) associated with traumatic lung injury has changed little in the past three decades. Therapeutic options are limited to basic supportive measures such as mechanical ventilation, positive end expiratory pressure, invasive cardiopulmonary monitoring, analgesics and aggressive pulmonary hygiene. Presently, no pharmacological agents can prevent the progressive respiratory embarrassment that is associated with the natural history of the disease, but several drugs have been tested in the laboratory. The purpose of this brief review is to summarize information published since January 2000 related to the clinical management and pathophysiology of lung contusion.