Continuing Professional Development: Tension pneumothorax

OverviewTension pneumothorax is a life threatening complication of chest injury. It can cause rapid physiological decompensation, cardiac arrest and death. The Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee (JRCALC) provide guidelines on the pre-hospital diagnosis and treatment of this condition. This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module firstly looks at the pathophysiology of the developing tension pneumothorax, discusses the signs and symptoms likely and less likely to be found, looks at the difficulties in recognising these signs and analyses the accepted methods of first line treatment. The module goes on to study alternative pre-hospital management methods and discusses the safety and effectiveness of each.Learning OutcomesAfter completing this module you will:• Appreciate the need for vigilance in making a diagnosis of tension pneumothorax.• Understand the potential for error and patient harm in treating tension pneumothorax, regardless of clinical skill level.• Have an understanding of the wider breadth of research and evidence surrounding tension pneumothorax which complement UK pre-hospital guidelines.• Have reviewed the techniques advocated for relieving a tension pneumothorax in the pre-hospital field.

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