Pneumothorax Procedural Overview

These procedures have been developed by the medical staff to reflect standing orders for care of athlete’s experiencing signs and symptoms of a pneumothorax.  This protocol is a summary drawn from the team’s comprehensive emergency action plan, and is intended to summarize the medical team’s preparation for and initial response to the identified condition.  This protocol summary is intended to serve only as a guideline.  The following procedures are not intended to substitute for prudent autonomous medical decision-making required during actual care and management of a sick or injured individual.  Please see the comprehensive emergency action plan for a formal write-up and reference material.

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Emergency Management Checklist
BLS Supplies ALS Considerations Protocol Specific Considerations
  • AED
  • BVM ventilator
  • Seal Quick™ resuscitator mask
  • Magill forcepts
  • Suction pump
  • Oxygen
  • Non-rebreather mask
  • Heart rate / blood pressure monitor
  • Pulse-oximeter
  • Latex free gloves
  • Make sure to check anterior and posterior breath sounds in all lobes of the lungs.
  • Activate EMS Immediately if:
    • Penetrating chest trauma;
    • Jugular vein distension;
    • Shallow breathing;
    • Tachycardia;
    • Tachypnea;
    • Decreased breath sounds;
    • Unequal chest expansion during breathing.


Critical Content Overview
Recognizing Pneumothorax
Acute signs and symptoms following blunt force trauma
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sharp chest pain while breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Subcutaneous emphysema

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Pnuemothorax Management Algorithm

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