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Arch Hellen Med, 19(3), May-June 2002, 258-269


Trauma of the tracheobronchial tree

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Patras, School of Medicine, Patras, Greece

Tracheobronchial disruption is an uncommon injury associated with blunt or open thoracic trauma. Rupture of the trachea or of a major bronchus remains a life threatening injury and may be associated with disastrous acute or delayed complications and early mortality. A high index of suspicion for tracheobronchial injury, coupled with an aggressive diagnostic and therapeutic approach, comprise the cornerstone of treatment to minimize the morbidity and mortality of such injuries. Because of recent developments in the pre hospital care and the wide application of the general principles of Αdvanced Trauma Life Support more patients now reach the hospital alive. The physician should be familiar with the most common injuries of the tracheobronchial tree and the various techniques of airway management. The aims of treatment are to maintain the airway patency, to preserve the vocal cords and to avoid the need for lifelong tracheotomy.

Key words: Airway, Injury, Tracheal and bronchial rupture, Trauma.

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