Article Abstract

Blast injures to the thorax

Authors: Zsolt Sziklavari, Tamas F. Molnar


One out of 10 of military casualties and 6–9 out of 10 civilian victims of terror incidents suffer pulmonary blast injuries when the attackers use explosives as weapon. No specific therapy exists for the primary, shock-wave injury to the lung. The treatment protocols are based on mechanical ventilation, intensive therapy and supportive care. Secondary and tertiary blast structural injuries to the thorax require damage control surgery, dominated by pleural space management (drainage) and haemorrhage control (thoracotomy if needed). Parenchyma resection of irreversibly destroyed lung is rarely needed, and non-anatomical resections are to be preferred. Delayed chest wall reconstruction follows haemodynamic stabilisation and completion of demarcation process. Blast injury to the chest requires a multidisciplinary approach, where the outcome is strongly influenced by the concomitant injuries.