To find out whether we could manage critical pulmonary haemorrhages in penetrating injuries, and to report our experience with blunt trauma of the lung.
Teaching hospital, Sweden.
81 patients who presented with pulmonary injuries during the period January 1988-December 1997; 6 were penetrating and 75 blunt.
There was only one patient with an isolated lung contusion. The remaining was divided into 2 groups: those with pulmonary contusion and thoracic lesions (n = 32), and those with pulmonary contusion and extrathoracic lesions (n = 42). Four patients in the penetrating group were shocked and required urgent operations; emergency room thoracotomy (n = 1), urgent thoracotomy (n = 2), and urgent thoracoabdominal exploration (n = 1) were done successfully. We correlated grade of lung injury [American Association for the Surgery of Trauma-Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS)] with mortality. All patients with penetrating injuries survived without serious consequences. There were a mean (SD), of 6 (2) injuries/patient in those with extrathoracic injuries compared with 3 (1) injuries/patient in the group with thoracic lesions (p