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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-7

Cardiothoracic Contrecoup and Contralateral Injuries: Nomenclature, Mechanism, and Significance


1 Department of Surgery/Östra, The Institute of Surgical Sciences, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg; Jacobsgårdarnas Health Center, Borlänge; Department of Surgery, Örnsköldsvik Hospital, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden; Department of Surgery, Lillehammer Hospital, Lillehammer, Norway; Scandinavian Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Gothenburg, Sweden
2 Guest Rsearch fellow in Cardiothoracic Trauma, Military Hospitals, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Moheb A Rashid
Department of Surgery/Östra, The Institute of Surgical Sciences, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg; Jacobsgårdarnas Health Center, Borlänge; Department of Surgery, Örnsköldsvik Hospital, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden; Department of Surgery, Lillehammer Hospital, Lillehammer, Norway; Scandinavian Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2542-6281.194051

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Objective: Contrecoup injuries are well-known lesions in the neurosurgical practice, while their existence in other medical disciplines is lacking. Another term of confusion is the contralateral lesion that is ill defined when compared to the contrecoup injury. A nomenclature, mechanism, and clinical significance of such lesions in cardiothoracic trauma patients are warranted. Patients and Methods: Only one patient with thoracic contracoup injuries was found in a retrospective review of 477 patients with significant cardiothoracic trauma managed during a 10-year period, between January 1988 and December 1997, at Sahlgrenska University Hospital/Östra, Gothenburg, Sweden. The other four cases with contrecoup injuries were encountered in a prospective manner in different places both in Sweden and Norway. All the four prospective cases were witnessed and well documented during trauma occurrence and management. Results: All patients developed significant contralateral chest wall symptoms and signs requiring treatment. One patient developed huge contrecoup pneumothorax. Two patients developed contrecoup hemothoraces. One patient developed contrecoup cardiac injury. One patient developed contralateral chest wall rib fractures. Two patients developed contralateral sternal fractures; one of them was unstable and required surgical fixation. Conclusions: Nomenclatures to what are have called contrecoup and contralateral lesions in cardiothoracic practice are suggested. Discrepancy between the trauma side of the chest and the resulting lesions exactly on the contralateral part may make the diagnosis difficult to understand and could give a suspicion concerning the trauma site, and whether the patient was conscious or simply not telling the truth as in case of trauma with medicolegal aspects.


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