Penetrating neck wounds – ED considerations

Great article on something we don't see too often in Antrim – all the more reason to refresh your knowledge!

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Zone I => sternal notch to cricoid cartilage

  • CT angiography, endoscopy, and bronchoscopy are indicated for evaluation.
    • Note: suspect hemothorax or pneumothorax in patients presenting with dyspnea or absent breath sounds (20% of patients with penetrating neck trauma have a pneumothorax or hemothorax on further examination).
  • Zone II => cricoid cartilage to angle of the mandible
    • Violation of the platysma mandates surgical exploration.
  • Zone III => angle of the mandible and above
    • CT angiography and endoscopy indicated for evaluation.