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HOME > J Korean Soc Traumatol > Volume 22(1); 2009 > Article
Study of the Length of Needle Thoracostomy Catheter Needed for Patients with Chest Trauma
Sung Won Kang, Hyun Wook Ryoo, Jung Bae Park, Kang Suk Seo, Jae Myung Chung
Journal of Trauma and Injury 2009;22(1):1-4
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Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.

This study was conducted to evaluate the length of the catheter used in a needle thoracostomy for emergency decompression of a tension pneumothorax by measuring the chest wall thickness (CWT) in patients with chest trauma METHODS: A retrospective review of 201 patients with chest trauma who had been transported the emergency department in a tertiary university hospital in a metropolitan area between 1 January and 31 February 2007 was performed. The average CWT at the second intercostal space (ICS) in the midclavicular line (MCL) was measured by using a chest computed tomography scan.
As the left and the right mean CWTs were 3.4+/-1.0 cm and 3.4+/-1.0 cm, respectively, there was no significant statistical difference between them. The mean CWT of female patients was significantly higher than that of male patients (p=0.001). The mean CWT of patients under the age of 65 years was significantly thicker than that of the patients over the age of 65 years (p<0.001). Of the studied patients, 12 (6.0%) a CWT > 5 cm.
A 5 cm-length catheter in a needle thoracostomy may be insufficient for emergency decompression of a tension pneumothorax, so a catheter longer than 5 cm in length is needed.

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