Thoracic Packing for Uncontrolled Bleeding in Penetrating Thoracic Injuries

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We present a series of three patients who suffered penetrating thoracic injury, and in whom thoracic packing was used as a life-saving procedure. Survival among these patients paralleled the severity and extent of the original injuries. Restriction of cardiac filling and lung expansion are potential deterrents from using this technique; however, its use seems to be a valid adjunct, especially in the setting of chest wall bleeding coming from the intercostal arteries. Damage control surgery in pentrating thoracic trauma, including thoracic packing, is a sound alternative when uncontrollable bleeding, hypothermia and coagulopathy compromises the survival of a patient.

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