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Article
December 6, 1952

DANGERS OF EMERGENCY OCCLUSIVE DRESSING IN SUCKING WOUNDS OF THE CHEST

Author Affiliations

Houston, Texas

From the Department of Surgery, Baylor University College of Medicine and the Jefferson Davis Hospital.

JAMA. 1952;150(14):1404. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.63680140002011a
Abstract

The dictum "close all sucking wounds promptly" has been the guiding principle of emergency treatment of perforating wounds of the chest in preparation for adequate debridement and accurate closure by sutures in the operating room. Adherence to this concept has undoubtedly saved many lives; it is true, however, that a tension pneumothorax may occur shortly after application of an occlusive dressing to a sucking wound. Standard reference works on the treatment of such injuries properly emphasize the importance of immediate closure of the opening but fail to associate clearly emergency closure by occlusive dressing with tension pneumothorax. Such a sequence of events, under the circumstances, may be anticipated to occur with some regularity. The following case will illustrate the point.

REPORT OF A CASE  M. H., a 22-year-old white man, was admitted to the Jefferson Davis Hospital about one and one-half hours after being wounded in a knife fight. He

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