Needle Decompression of the Chest

Needle Decompression of the Chest

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Medical Examination

Tension pneumothorax describes the progressive accumulation of air in the pleural cavity (normally a potential space) through a defect in the visceral pleura. This leads to positive pressure being maintained and increasing throughout the respiratory cycle causing vessels within the mediastinum to be compressed with catastrophic consequences if left untreated. Clinical signs include hypoxia, hypotension, tachycardia, reduced breath sounds and hyper resonance ipsilaterally, with tracheal deviation (away from the affected side) and distended neck veins being late clinical signs.

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