The role of chest computed tomography in trauma

D. S. Plurad, P. Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Chest computed tomography (CCT) evaluation for trauma encompasses two main objectives: (1) The evaluation of the acutely injured in the search for diagnoses and (2) follow up assessment or diagnosis of pulmonary complications in the hospitalised patient. In the acute phase of evaluation, CCT has become particularly helpful for the diagnosis of blunt thoracic aortic injury (BAI), great vessel injury, extent of lung contusion, occult hemothorax, occult pneumothorax, spinal fractures and spinal cord injuries and to determine the tract of transmediastinal gun shot wounds. In the subacute phase, CCT has gained popularity for diagnosing pulmonary embolism and evaluation of retained hemothorax. Technological advances have lead to better diagnostic capabilities that can be obtained quickly but, particularly in the trauma patient, there is little consistent data supporting an outcome improvement in the majority of patients despite changes in clinical management. Further data is needed to support use of CCT in select trauma patient populations to increase useful diagnostic yield and cost effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Chest trauma
  • blunt aortic injury
  • computed tomography
  • hemothorax
  • lung contusion
  • pneumothorax
  • resource management
  • trauma evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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