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What is an Emergency Exploratory Thoracotomy?

The image below shows an emergency exploratory thoracotomy done after a traumatic chest injury!


Surgeons perform thoracotomy to resuscitate a major trauma by gaining access to the thoracic organs (heart, lungs, oesophagus, thoracic aorta or anterior spine). It is indicated in cases of cardiac tamponade, a medical emergency that requires urgent drainage of the accumulated pericardial fluid, or to locate an aortic dissection and to control injury-related bleeding from the heart.


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