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, 17 (1), 53-9

The Lung and Pediatric Trauma


The Lung and Pediatric Trauma

Juan A Tovar. Semin Pediatr Surg.


Thoracic trauma is relatively frequent in children and causes considerable mortality. This is mainly due to the multiorganic nature of the trauma. The lung is more often affected even in the absence of rib fractures because of the considerable pliability of the chest wall that allows direct transfer of energy to this organ. Injuries to the heart, the aorta, the esophagus, and the diaphragm are rare. Lung contusion and laceration cause parenchymal hemorrhage and consolidation sometimes accompanied by pneumothorax and/or hemothorax. Tracheobronchial disruption is rare but life-threatening. Most traumatic lung injuries may be treated with rest, respiratory support, and eventually intercostal drainage. Large hemorrhage may require thoracotomy, and persistent pneumothorax (indicative of tracheobronchial disruption) may require intubation with fiberoptic bronchoscopic assistance and eventually reparative or ablative surgery. Adult respiratory distress syndrome is very rarely seen in children with thoracic trauma, but it remains highly lethal.

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