Prehospital pleural decompression: a new way? : a new approach

Needle thoracocentesis is the current UK ambulance services sole method of pleural decompression in suspected tension pneumothorax; however, the effectiveness of this procedure is questionable. This article will discuss the viability of an alternative method of pleural decompression—tube thoracostomy—providing comparisons to needle decompression and other current techniques used in prehospital care. The efficacy and safety of available techniques will be critically analysed and recommendations for the assessment and management of tension pneumothorax will be provided.

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