Simple thoracostomy in our system has been developed as a safe method for extensively trained paramedics to resolve the potentially life-threatening condition of tension pneumothorax and associated traumatic cardiac arrest.
Can paramedics do needle decompression?
Most paramedics are trained and protocolized to perform needle decompression for immediate relief of a tension pneumothorax. However, if an incorrect diagnosis of tension pneumothorax is made in the prehospital setting, the patient’s life may be endangered by unnecessary invasive procedures.
How do you perform a thoracostomy?
Insert the thoracostomy needle, piercing the skin over the rib below the target interspace, then directing the needle cephalad over the rib until the pleura is punctured (usually indicated by a pop and/or sudden decrease in resistance). After doing a needle thoracostomy, insert a chest tube as soon as possible.
What needles do paramedics use?
These practices use a 1.75 to 2 inch, 14 to 16 gauge needle for chest decompression.
What is a finger thoracostomy?
The finger thoracostomy is an alternative to needle thoracostomy for emergent decompression of a suspected tension pneumothorax. Numerous studies suggest that needle thoracostomy inconsistently accesses the pleural space.
What do paramedics do for a collapsed lung?
If an EMS provider suspects a tension pneumothorax, they should perform immediate needle decompression in the second intercostal space to restore cardiac output. The definitive treatment for pneumothorax is chest tube placement in the emergency department.
Do lungs expand immediately after chest tube insertion?
After your chest tube insertion, you will have a chest x-ray to make sure the tube is in the right place. The chest tube most often stays in place until x-rays show that all the blood, fluid, or air has drained from your chest and your lung has fully re-expanded.
Can paramedics put in chest tubes?
Although the placement of chest tubes usually falls to physicians, many healthcare workers—be they paramedics or nurses—have had to take care of patients with chest tubes in place, either in a hospital setting or during transport.