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Seokran Yeom 1 Article
Needle Decompression for Trauma Patients: Chest Wall Thickness and Size of the Needle
Jeewan Kim, Jinwoo Jeong, Suck Ju Cho, Seokran Yeom, Sang Kyoon Han, Sungwook Park
J Korean Soc Traumatol. 2010;23(2):63-67.
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AbstractAbstract PDF
PURPOSE
A tension pneumothorax is a fatal condition that requires immediate intervention. Although a definitive treatment for a tension pneumothorax is a tube thoracostomy, needle decompression can provide temporary relief, that is lifesaving. The traditional procedure for needle decompression involves inserting a needle or catheter at the second intercostal space, the midclavicular line. Recent evidence suggests that the commonly used catheters do not have sufficiently penetrate the chest wall. There are also claims that a lateral approach to needle decompression is easier and safer than the traditional anterior approach. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the optimal approach for needle decompression for the Korean population by measuring chest wall thicknesses at the points used for both the anterior and the lateral approaches.
METHODS
The chest wall thickness (CWT) of trauma victims who visited the Emergency Center of Pusan National University Hospital was measured by computed tomography (CT) images. The CWT was measured at the points used for the anterior and the lateral methods and was compared with the length of commonly used catheters, which is 45 mm.
RESULTS
The mean CWT at the second intercostal space, the midclavicular line, was shorter than the CWT at the 5th intercostal space, the anterior axillary line. However, the percentage of patients whose CWT was greater than 45 mm was larger when measured anteriorly (8.2%) that when measure laterally (5.7%). Female patients and those older than 60 were more likely to have an anterior CWT greater than 45 mm (28.2% for females and 15.5% for those older than 60).
CONCLUSION
The percentage of trauma victims in Korea whose CWT is greater than 45 mm is lower than the values previously reported by other countries. However, females and older patients tend to have thicker chest walls, so the lateral approach would be suggested when performing needle decompression for such patients with suspected tension pneumothoraces.
Summary

J Trauma Inj : Journal of Trauma and Injury