Article Text

Emergency Thoracotomy – The Indications, Contraindications and Evidence
  1. Dr BS Morgan, Core Trainee in Emergency Medicine1 and
  2. JP Garner, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon2
  1. 1Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield
  2. 2The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, Moorgate Road, Rotherham
  1. Broad View, Grove Park, Pontnewydd, Torfaen NP44 1RN dr.beth.sian.morgan{at}


Emergency thoracotomy is a dramatic and controversial intervention which may be life saving after major torso trauma. Success rates are variable and differ widely according to mechanism of injury. This article outlines the current indications and contraindications to emergency thoracotomy and examines the evidence to support it accumulated over 40 years.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.