SEAL THE OPEN CHEST WOUND
One of the objectives in treating an open chest wound is to keep air from
entering the chest cavity through the wound. Stopping air from entering the wound
helps to keep the lung from collapsing or, at least, slows down the collapse. Since air
can pass through a field dressing, airtight sealing material must be placed between the
wound and the dressing to keep air from entering the wound.
a. Manufactured Devices. Use a manufactured chest seal device if one is
(1) Obtain an Asherman chest seal (figure 3-2) or other appropriate
manufactured chest seal device from your aid bag.
Figure 3-2. The Asherman chest seal.
(2) Use the included gauze to dry the area surrounding the wound as well
as possible to increase adhesion with the dressing.
(3) If available apply tincture of benzoin around the wound area to
increase adhesion of the dressing.
(4) If the patient has excessive chest hair, the area may need to be shaved
to allow proper adhesion of the dressing.
Remove the backing and expose the adhesive dressing.
(6) Tell the casualty to exhale and hold his breath. This forces some of the
trapped air out of the chest cavity. The more air forced out of the chest cavity before
the wound is dressed, the better the casualty will be able to breathe.
If the casualty is unconscious or cannot hold his breath, place the adhesive
dressing over the wound after his chest falls but before it rises again.