A Dagger to the Heart

Author: Jessie Lynch / Editor: Fiona Mendes / Codes: Published: 14/06/2023

A 28-year-old male is brought in by ambulance. He was involved in an altercation outside a pub and received a single stab wound to the chest.

He appears pale and anxious and is complaining of shortness of breath. He has a single 2cm stab wound approximately 2cm lateral to his left nipple. He has symmetrical chest rise and clear, equal breath sounds without crepitations or wheeze. It is difficult to hear his heart sounds in the noisy emergency department. His neck veins appear distended.

His vital signs are as follows:

  • Oxygen saturations 96% in room air
  • Respiratory rate 26 breaths per minute
  • Heart rate 127 beats per minute
  • Blood pressure 88/52 mmHg
  • Temperature 35.9 C

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