The thoracic cavity can best be described as the area that starts at the bottom of the neck and extends down to the diaphragm. The contents of the thoracic cavity include the heart, lungs and the great blood vessels. All of these vital components of the thoracic cavity are protected by the ribs. The muscles of the thoracic cavity assist in breathing but also offer a partial protection to the organs.
Injuries that are concentrated to directly or around the thoracic area are considered to be in most cases life threatening or at the very least an important factor in deciding transport decisions in pre-hospital settings. This is due to the heart for one is contained in the thoracic cavity as well as the diaphragm that assists us in our breathing via inhale and exhale.
A thoracic injury may be of blunt force trauma rather than penetrating trauma, meaning that the injury may not be visible from the exterior or with the naked eye. A check of the vitals of a patient will be able to assist you in seeing some of these changes from a blunt force trauma in some cases. In other cases you may not know until it is too late. This is why like we mentioned earlier that most thoracic injuries are considered life threatening in nature.
Thoracic trauma can affect the heart as much to cause cardiac output to decrease, therefore decreasing blood pressure which then in turn will decrease the amount of oxygen, blood, and other needed substances reaching certain parts of the body such as cells and organs that need the substances to maintain adequate perfusion. Once this happens the patient can go into shock. At this point a pre hospital care provider must correct the apparent life threats if possible or to the best of their abilities and this is only if said apparent life threats are visible.
Rib fractures are another injury related to the thoracic area that is considered or I should say in most cases should be considered life threats especially in the elderly. A fractured rib is considered a life threat due to the fact that not only can the rib be fractured causing pain but it can also affect breathing as well as puncture an organ or other vital part of the body. This is another example of some of the not so visible life threats of the thoracic area.
Of course you can have penetrating punctures that are apparent and even though they are apparent it does not necessarily mean that they are able to be maintained or controlled at the scene. All of this goes along with patient assessment and transport decision in the pre hospital setting.
Death is referred to as the cessation of the biological functions that support a living organism. Death is an inevitable occurrence but can be hastened or prolonged due to certain lifestyle choices such as eating habits, drug/alcohol abuse, physical activity, and certain medications. Some causes of death can be inherited such as diseases and other health issues. Death can occur naturally, by accident, and intentionally. Infectious diseases are the most common cause of death. Some of these are tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS. These specific diseases cause approximately more than 300 million illnesses a year and more than 5 million deaths each year.
In other countries lack of sanitary living conditions and limited or no access to modern medical technology and medications heighten the results of death from infectious diseases. Other health concerns that can cause death are tobacco use, malnutrition, bad eating habits, and lack of physical activity. In many cases after a death an autopsy is performed. This is an examination of a human corpse in an effort to determine such things as cause of death and to evaluate if any disease or injury is present. This is very beneficial in unexplained deaths and deaths in which the circumstances are suspicious as in murder and suicide.
Dying is a process of death in which your body is shutting down and you are reaching a state in which biological functions are going to cease. Dying is a natural part of our society and is sometimes known by the person that they are dying but can also be unexpected. Dying sometimes involves a grieving process by the person dying and by family members and friends. This process includes denial/shock (usually at the beginning stages where you have difficulty accepting your own or a loved one’s death), anger (the second stage when you are asking questions like “why me”, or “why this person” and can sometimes displace your anger on others), bargaining (the third stage where you or a loved one vows to give something up in exchange for the dying persons health), guilt ( fourth stage of death; finding guilt in things you did or didn’t do in life), depression (the fifth stage of death where you have feelings of isolation, and mood fluctuations), and acceptance(final stage where you accept death and have dealt with it, but does not always mean happiness).
Death and dying is something we all will face in our lives. Dealing with it can be very difficult and sometimes the comfort of others such as a family member, friend, and a clergyman i.e. priest, reverend, or minister can help to cope with the process whether you or someone you love is dying. Talking sounds simple but sometimes it is hard in these circumstances.
The physician will usually order blood work such as a lipid panel that will tell about all the good and bad cholesterol, which effects the blood vessels by creating plaque inside the vessel that will clog the vessel or the plaque will break off and travel to the brain and cause a stroke. There are some things that can be done to change the outcome, but unfortunately genetics play an important role. The ACLS renewal course will discuss and teach material related to recognizing symptoms of a stroke and how to intervene quickly. It is imperative that you take control of your health and challenge or demand explanations for treatment.