Chest trauma in children-what an anesthesiologist should know

Paediatr Anaesth. 2022 Feb;32(2):340-345. doi: 10.1111/pan.14340. Epub 2021 Nov 29.


Injury is the leading cause of death in children, with chest trauma accounting for 25% of this mortality. In addition, these patients often present with multiple system injuries, which require simultaneous management. These concurrent injuries can lead to challenges when prioritizing tasks in the resuscitation room and during anesthetic management. In addition, changes from spontaneous ventilation to positive pressure ventilation can impact lung physiology. Therefore, a clear communication plan with careful monitoring and vigilance is needed for intubation and ventilation in these children. These injuries also require specific strategies to prevent barotrauma which could lead to complications such as respiratory failure, pneumonia, sepsis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. This educational review aims to guide clinicians managing pediatric chest trauma through some of the critical decision-making regarding intubation, ventilation, and subsequent management of injuries.

Keywords: airway; chest injuries; chest trauma; pediatric anesthesia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Multiple Trauma*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Insufficiency*
  • Thoracic Injuries* / therapy