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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Arrow to the Chest


A 33-year-old male was brought to the emergency department after a penetrating arrow injury to the chest. Initial evaluation revealed the arrow was penetrating the sternum, lung, and aortic arch. Because the patient was in a remote area, timely transfer to a specialized center for definitive operative repair was delayed approximately 24 hours. Treatment was focused on minimizing risk of hemorrhage with tight blood pressure control, while tube thoracostomy was deferred to avoid a change in intrathoracic pressure. The left-sided hemothorax was monitored with serial point-of-care ultrasounds. Ultimately he was successfully transferred and underwent successful surgical intervention.

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