Larkin School of Nursing Disorders of Ventilation and Gas Exchange

1. A 30-year-old man is brought to the emergency department with a knife wound to the chest. On visual inspection, asymmetry of the chest movement during inspiration, displacement of the trachea, and absence of breath sounds on the side of the wound are noted. His neck veins are distended and his pulse is rapid and thready. Rapid diagnosis of tension pneumothorax is made.

1. Explain the observed respiratory and cardiovascular function in terms of the impaired lung expansion and the air that has entered the chest cavity as a result of the injury?

2. What type of emergent treatment is necessary to save this man’s life?

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