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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 7(1); 1996 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 1996;7(1): 141-144.
Seung Hyun Park1, Seung Pil Choi1, Byung Ho Nah1, Ju Il Hwang1, Suk Ju Nah2, Hae Myung Chun1, Se Kyung Kim1
1Department of Emergency Medicine, Catholic University Medical College
2Department of Thoracic Surgery, Catholic University Medical College
  Published online: March 31, 1996.
Traumatic asphyxia has often been described as a rare clinical syndrome characterized by cervicofacial cyanosis and edema, multiple petechiae, and subconjunctival hemorrhage after a severe crush injury of the thorax or upper part of the abdomen. The pathogenesis of traumatic asphyxia is that after compression of the chest or upper abdomen, intrathoracic pressure increased suddenly. Blood is forced out of the right atrium through the valveless innominate and jugular veins into the head and neck. This sudden increased thoracic pressure in small venules and capillaries causes rapid dilation and minute hemorrhages producing the petechiae often seen. Treatment is supportive and should be focused on the associated injuries. The prognosis for traumatic asphyxia is very good despite the alarming initial physical appearance. If the patient survives the initial insult, the prognosis is excellent. Neurologic sequale may be permemant. We experienced five case of the traumatic asphyxia, and its clinical and pathophysiologic features are discussed. Increased awareness of this syndrome by emergency physicians will result in better reporting and understanding of its clinical implications.
Key words: Traumatic asphyxia, Chest trauma
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