Chest injuries | Medical Council of Canada
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Chest injuries

Version: January 2017
Legacy ID: 109-4


Chest injuries are potentially life threatening. Injury to the chest may be blunt or penetrating.

Causal Conditions

(list not exhaustive)

  1. Blunt trauma (e.g., blast injuries, deceleration injuries)
  2. Penetrating trauma (e.g., stabbing, shooting)

Key Objectives

Given a patient with a chest injury, the candidate will diagnose the cause, severity and complications, and initiate an appropriate management plan. Since such patients frequently present in shock and/or respiratory distress, particular attention should be paid to prompt resuscitation and stabilization of the patient.

Enabling Objectives

Given a patient with chest injury, the candidate will

  1. list and interpret critical clinical findings, including
    1. the mechanism of injury;
    2. the signs of injury;
    3. the identification of signs and symptoms of common life-threatening chest injuries (e.g., aortic rupture, pericardial tamponade, tension pneumothorax, massive hemothorax);
  2. construct an effective initial management plan, including
    1. initiate resuscitation of the injured patient and assess the patient’s response to resuscitation;
    2. recognize the indications for urgent intervention;
  3. list and interpret critical investigations (e.g., imaging, electrocardiography), while keeping in mind that such tests should be deferred until the patient is stabilized.