What is the prognosis of hemothorax?

Updated: Jul 13, 2020
  • Author: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM; Chief Editor: Jeffrey C Milliken, MD  more...
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At present, the general outcome for patients with traumatic hemothorax is good. Mortality associated with cases of traumatic hemothorax is directly related to the nature and severity of the injury. Morbidity is also related to these factors and to the risks associated with retained hemothorax, namely empyema and fibrothorax/trapped lung. Empyema occurs in approximately 5% of cases. Fibrothorax occurs in about 1% of cases.

Retained hemothorax with or without one of the aforementioned complications occurs in 10-20% of patients who sustain a traumatic hemothorax, and most of these patients require evacuation of this collection. Prognosis after the treatment of one of these complications is excellent.

Short-term and long-term outcome for individuals who develop a nontraumatic hemothorax is directly related to the underlying cause of the hemothorax.

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