Objective: This study examined the indications for prehospital needle thoracostomy (pNT), the need for tube thoracostomy (TT) following pNT, and the outcomes of patients who underwent pNT. Methods: This study is a retrospective chart review of patients who underwent pNT prior to trauma center arrival. Patients were identified from the trauma registry and a quality improvement (QI) database from 9/2014–9/2018. Results: 59 patients underwent 63 pNTs during the time period. The indication for pNT was “hypotension” in only 5 patients (7.9%). A CT chest was obtained on 51 NT attempts with the catheter in place. In 48 (94.1%) NT attempts, the catheter was not in the pleural space. 44 (69.4%) TTs were placed on admission date. Conclusion: In patients undergoing pNT, hypotension was rarely the indication. Additionally, CT identified the catheter within the pleural space in only 3 (5.8%) NT attempts. TT placement was performed in 79.3% of NT attempts.
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