I was all the time encouraging people to carry tourniquets and this is valid also today. The torniquet is one of the most important tools that you must have on you with you all the time. But I want to talk in this small article about another equipment that people are not giving so much attention or importance, the Chest Seals.
In the realm of civilian trauma, where accidents and mishaps frequently occur, or even active shooting scenarios or other violent encounters, ensuring the availability and proper use of medical equipment can be a matter of life and death. In scenarios where injuries are predominantly located in the upper body and civilians are not equipped with bulletproof vests, chest seals emerge as a crucial tool. Statistics are showing that in the civilian environment prevalence have the chest trauma compared with the war zones where military and operational personell injuries are more common on the extremities. The military, law enforcement operators are having the upper body, chest protected by bullet proof vests. This is the reason why in the civilian environment we find more trauma injuries located in the chest area. These simple yet effective medical devices(Chest Seals) play a vital role in sealing chest wounds, preventing life-threatening complications, and increasing the chances of survival. This article explores the significance of chest seals in civilian trauma environments and highlights their role in safeguarding lives.
Understanding Chest Trauma
Chest trauma, often resulting from accidents, falls, violent situations, or other unforeseen incidents, can lead to serious and potentially fatal injuries. Such injuries may involve penetrating wounds, such as from broken glass or sharp objects, knife stabs, gunshot wounds or blunt force trauma, which can cause fractures to the ribs or sternum. These injuries may lead to an open pneumothorax or a tension pneumothorax, where air accumulates in the pleural cavity and exerts pressure on vital organs. In the absence of timely and appropriate intervention, these conditions can rapidly escalate, leading to respiratory distress, shock, and even death.
The Role of Chest Seals
Chest seals, typically made of a durable and adhesive material, are designed to cover and seal open chest wounds. They create a one-way valve mechanism that allows air and fluids to exit the chest cavity, preventing the development of a tension pneumothorax. By maintaining a one-way flow, chest seals enable the lung to re-expand and alleviate pressure on the heart and major blood vessels, thereby stabilizing the patient's condition.
Immediate First Aid and Prevention of Complications
In a civilian trauma environment, where medical assistance might not be immediately available, individuals trained in basic first aid can apply chest seals to the injured person. Prompt and proper application of a chest seal can make a significant difference in preventing complications and buying precious time until professional medical help arrives. The simplicity of the device ensures that even individuals with minimal medical training can effectively use it in critical situations.
Advantages Over Traditional Methods
Chest seals offer distinct advantages over traditional methods of managing chest wounds. Unlike improvised dressings, which might not provide an airtight seal, chest seals are specifically designed for this purpose. They are equipped with innovative features such as built-in one-way valves and adhesive backing, ensuring a secure and effective seal that can withstand the challenges of a dynamic trauma environment.
Training and Awareness
While chest seals are user-friendly, proper training and awareness are essential. First responders, law enforcement personnel, and individuals operating in environments prone to accidents should receive training on the correct application of chest seals. Knowledge of when and how to use these devices can mean the difference between a successful intervention and a potential medical crisis.
Below are some of the chest seals that I carry and use. There are on the market many brands so you can choose what you like but as an advice choose vented chest seals. In the TRAUMA MEDICINE | Tribe 13 section you will find a video related to chest seals. Also check the other article from the Blog in which I talk about Open pneumothorax and chest seals OPEN PNEUMOTHORAX - CHEST SEALS (tribe13.net) .
You can see below the next chest seals:
and the blue one is a trainer that can be used multiple times.
In civilian trauma scenarios where upper body injuries are prevalent and individuals lack the protection of bulletproof vests, chest seals emerge as a critical tool for saving lives. Their ability to effectively seal chest wounds and prevent the development of life-threatening complications underscores their importance in a first responder's toolkit. As we continue to prioritize preparedness and effective medical interventions, understanding the significance of chest seals and ensuring their availability can make a profound impact on the outcomes of traumatic incidents. By acknowledging their role and advocating for their widespread use, we empower individuals to be proactive in addressing chest trauma and promoting the well-being of our communities.
The trauma medical kit must have tourniquets, chest seals and gauze(normal or hemostatic).