Impalement injuries of the chest

  • F Edwin
  • M Tettey
  • L Aniteye
  • D Kotei
  • M Tamatey
  • K Entsuamensah
  • I Delia
  • K Frimpong-boateng
Keywords: Impalement injuries, thoracic, mechanisms, debridement, management.


Impalement injuries of the chest are uncommon in civilian practice with few reports in the literature. We report three cases of thoracic impalement seen over a 5 year period with unusual underlying mechanisms. In two of the cases, the impalement was obvious; in the
third, the impalement was concealed having occurred 5 months earlier. In Case 1, the underlying mechanism was a high-speed road traffic accident. The patient was impaled by a metallic square pipe piled by the roadside. In Case 2, the gun-housing of a locally-made rifle gave way as it was fired and allowed a reverse ejection of the barrel during recoil that impaled the hunter’s chest. In Case 3, a domestic assault with an old umbrella caused an impalement injury as one of the umbrella spokes broke off, penetrated and lodged in the left chest going unnoticed for 5 months. Persistent chest pain and haemoptysis led to a request for chest radiographic examination upon which the foreign body was discovered. Massive haemoptysis brought the patient to emergency thoracotomy. All three patients underwent thoracotomy with a successful outcome

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560