Herniation of chest contents can occur if there is a significant disruption of the chest wall.


Risk factors:

(1) massive high-energy force (automobile accident, fall, etc).

(2) use of a shoulder harness


Clinical features:

(1) There is a physical disruption of the chest wall.

(2) Lung tissue herniates through the defect, with the amount of tissue ranging from small to large.

(3) There may be a shift in thoracic structures depending on size of herniation.

(4) The presentation may be acute (large herniation) or delayed (small herniation).



(1) infection (pneumonia, empyema)

(2) hypoxemia

(3) pneumothorax

(4) lung laceration


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