Tension pneumothorax: are prehospital guidelines safe and what are the alternatives?


Tension pneumothorax is a life-threatening complication of chest injury. It can cause rapid physiological decompensation, cardiac arrest and death. The Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liason Committee (JRCALC) provide guidelines on the prehospital diagnosis and treatment of this condition. The aim of this article is to ask whether or not these guidelines are effective and if there are feasible alternatives to the management of tension pneumothoraces in the prehospital environment.

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