Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Trauma/Critical Care


Dr. June Sullivan DMSc, PA-C


Traumatic hemothorax (HTX) is a collection of blood within the thoracic pleural space following blunt or penetrating chest trauma. Providers should recognize the presentation and understand the management of a traumatic HTX to prevent significant morbidity and mortality. Historically, hemothoraces are evacuated by inserting a large-bore chest tube (LBCT) (≥28F) into the thoracic pleural space. Recent literature suggests similar outcomes and complications when utilizing small-bore chest tubes (SBCT)(<28F) for treating HTX compared to the traditional larger chest tubes. Studies also overwhelmingly demonstrate improved patient comfort with the placement of SBCT. This article discusses the presentation and diagnosis of traumatic hemothorax while also comparing various thoracostomy tube placement techniques, clinical outcomes, and complications of large and small-bore chest tubes.


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