Common Complications Following Thoracic Trauma: Their Prevention and Treatment

Ronald M. Stewart, Michael G. Corneille

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Although there are a wide range of complications following thoracic trauma, respiratory failure, pneumonia, and pleural sepsis are the most common potentially preventable problems. Respiratory failure and pneumonia are directly related to the severity of the injury and the age and condition of the patient. A program aimed at aggressive pain control, mobilization, and pulmonary care can reduce the risk of respiratory failure, pneumonia, and death in these patients. Pleural sepsis develops in the face of a retained hemothorax, which becomes contaminated with bacteria. The most common source for this contamination is not pneumonia, but external contamination from the wound itself or at the time of placement of the tube thoracostomy. Measures that reduce the volume of retained pleural blood and reduce or eliminate any bacterial contamination are likely to reduce the incidence of pleural sepsis. The authors review these complications and describe a plan to reduce these complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-71
Number of pages3
JournalSeminars in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • empyema
  • pleural sepsis
  • pneumonia
  • respiratory failure
  • thoracic trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Common Complications Following Thoracic Trauma: Their Prevention and Treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this