Chest Injuries

Chest injuries can be life-threatening, especially if they involve an underlying organ such as the heart, lungs, major arteries and/or veins. These injuries are not always visible or obvious and a thorough examination is required.

The casualty can deteriorate quickly, so the casualty must be constantly monitored.

Gathering all of the signs, symptoms and a good history of the event is important in enabling effective treatment of the casualty.

Recognition of Chest Injuries

  • Difficult and/or noisy breathing
  • Pain increasing on breathing, movement and/or coughing
  • Pale or blue skin
  • Shock, anxious and/or restless
  • Obvious chest injury (e.g. gunshot, stabbing)
  • Frothy blood-stained saliva (sputum)
  • Rapid deterioration of the casualty
  • Decreased air movement to the injured side
  • Decreased level of consciousness leading to unconsciousness