Monday, 19 August 2013

Improvement in the prehospital recognition of tension pneumothorax

Kate Cantwell 125An audit of ambulance service clinical records from 2001 to 2002 revealed 10 patients with tension pneumothorax on arrival at hospital had been undetected or untreated by paramedics.  Clinical practice guidelines were subsequently changed  to emphasise heightened clinical suspicion of a tension pneumothorax in the setting of chest trauma.

Kate Cantwell (PhD Scholar, DEPM) and Prof Peter Cameron,  in collaboration with Monash University’s Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice and Ambulance Victoria set out to determine whether the number of undetected or untreated tension pneumothoraces had decreased since the implementation of the new guidelines.   They found that improvements have led to a reduction in unrecognised untreated tension pneumothoraces.

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