Pulmonary Contusion: Review of the Clinical Entity

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Pulmonary contusion is a common lesion occurring in patients sustaining severe blunt chest trauma.Alveolar hemorhage and parenchymal destruction are maximal during the first 24 hours after injury and then usually resolve within 7 days. The diagnosis of traumatic lung injury is usually made clinically with confirmation by chest x-ray films. The chest computed tomography scan is highly sensitive in identifying pulmonary contusion and may help predict the need for mechanical ventilation. Respiratory distress is common after lung trauma, with hypoxemia and hypercarbia greatest at about 72 hours. Although management of patients with pulmonary contusion is supportive, pneumonia and adult respiratory distress syndrome with long-term disability occur frequently.

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