Longest delayed hemothorax reported after blunt chest injury.

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Blunt chest injury is a common presentation to the emergency department. However, a delayed hemothorax after blunt trauma is rare; current literature reports a delay of up to 30days. We present a case of 44-day delay in hemothorax which has not been previously reported in current literature.

CASE REPORT

A 52-year-old Caucasian male first presented to the emergency department complaining of persistent right sided chest pain 2weeks after having slipped on a wet surface at home. His initial chest X-ray showed fractures of the right 7th and 8th ribs without a hemothorax or pneumothorax. He returned 30days after the initial consultation (44days post-trauma) having increasing shortness of breath. A chest X-ray this time revealed a large right hemothorax and 1850ml of blood drained from his chest. There was a complete resolution of the hemothorax within 48h and the patient was discharged after a 6-week follow-up with the chest physicians.

DISCUSSION

Delayed hemothorax after blunt trauma is a rare clinical occurrence but associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The management of delayed hemothorax includes draining the hemothorax and controlling the bleeding. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Emergency physicians should be vigilant and weary that hemothorax could be a possibility after a chest injury despite a delay in presentation. A knowledge of delayed hemothorax will prompt physicians in providing important advice, warning signs and information to patients after a chest injury to avoid a delay in seeking medical attention.

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