Traumatic asphyxia due to blunt chest trauma: a case report and literature review
ICU department, University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Dragana, Alexandroupolis 68100, Greece
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:257 doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-257Published: 30 August 2012
Crush asphyxia is different from positional asphyxia, as respiratory compromise in the latter is caused by splinting of the chest and/or diaphragm, thus preventing normal chest expansion. There are only a few cases or small case series of crush asphyxia in the literature, reporting usually poor outcomes.
We present the case of a 44-year-old Caucasian man who developed traumatic asphyxia with severe thoracic injury and mild brain edema after being crushed under heavy auto vehicle mechanical parts. He remained unconscious for an unknown time. The treatment included oropharyngeal intubation and mechanical ventilation, bilateral chest tube thoracostomies, treatment of brain edema and other supportive measures. Our patient’s outcome was good. Traumatic asphyxia is generally under-reported and most authors apply supportive measures, while the final outcome seems to be dependent on the length of time of the chest compression and on the associated injuries.
Treatment for traumatic asphyxia is mainly supportive with special attention to the re-establishment of adequate oxygenation and perfusion; treatment of the concomitant injuries might also affect the final outcome.