Tomographic aspects of penetrating thoracic trauma: injuries from firearms and other weapons

Abstract Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the various computed tomography findings in penetrating chest trauma, as well as to determine the frequency and extent of the lesions. Material and Methods: We studied the computed tomography findings from 40 cases of penetrating thoracic trauma, of which 35 (85.8%) were gunshot wounds and 5 (14.2%) were caused by another type of weapon. Results: Pulmonary lesions were found in 39 cases (97.5%), manifesting as contusions in 34 cases (85%), atelectasis in 8 (20%), lacerations in 1 (2.5%) and hematomas in 1 (2.5%). Hemothorax was seen in 31 cases (77.5%), and pneumothorax was seen in 22 cases (55%). Mediastinal lesions were observed in 8 cases (20%), including mediastinal hematoma in 3 cases (7.5%), hemopericardium in 3 (7.5%), and pneumomediastinum in 2 (5%). Diaphragmatic rupture was seen in 2 cases (5%). Conclusion: In patients with penetrating thoracic trauma, computed tomography of the chest is an important tool for characterizing the affected organs and evaluating the path of injury, as well as the severity and extent of the lesions. The images obtained are also useful in estimating the risk of death and determining the best therapeutic approach.