Resuscitative thoracotomies are most commonly used for treatment of cardiac tamponade and to selectively perfuse the brain and heart in setting of hemorrhage control.
Resuscitative thoracotomies are indicated in patients with penetrating injuries who lose vitals in the ED or those who had vitals within the last 10 minutes.
Do not perform resuscitative thoracotomies on patients who have no signs of life on scene, asystole as their presenting rhythm, or no vitals > 10 minutes.
Resuscitative thoracotomies are not indicated in patients with blunt trauma unless vitals are present in ED.
Do not perform CPR on trauma patients.
Karmy-Jones R, Namias N, Coimbra R, et al. (2014).Western Trauma Association critical decisions in trauma: penetrating chest trauma.Journal of Trauma Acute Care Surgery. 77:994.
Seamon MJ, Shiroff AM, Franco M, et al. (2009) Emergency department thoracotomy for penetrating injuries of the heart and great vessels: an appraisal of 283 consecutive cases from two urban trauma centers.Journal of Trauma. 67:1250.