Sucking Chest Wounds/Open Chest Wound

What are sucking Chest wounds/Open Chest Wound?

Sucking Chest Wounds are now called Open Chest wounds, treatment has changed and become simpler and better.

If you would rather learn in a classroom take a First Aid Class with us here.

It is a puncture type injury in the chest area which has created a new pathway to the chest cavity (area around the lungs)

This type of injury can be caused by falling on a sharp object, stab wounds and gunshots wounds.

The dangers with the sucking chest wound is if treated improperly could lead to a tension pneumothorax.

A Tension Pneumothorax is a buildup of air that collapses the lung or lungs and puts pressure on the heart which then can’t pump blood effectively and may lead to a serious medical condition. This injury is commonly called a collapsed lung.


The Symptoms

Puncture wound

An open wound

A sucking sound when the victim exhales

Blood or blood stained bubbles at the wound when the victim inhales.



You can learn more about these wounds and more at ProSafe First Aid Training.

This injury used to be treated by attempting to make a one way valve using tape and a plastic sheet.

This has changed as the recommended method of treating this type of Injury in the last few years.

Open Chest Wound

There are two general ways of treating this wound while waiting for EMS to arrive.

The First is to just leave the wound alone.

The second is to apply a non occlusive dressing (non-adhering and permeable allowing liquids or gasses to pass through) change dressing immediately if it becomes blood-soaked.

Both of these methods will prevent a tension pneumothorax.



The exception to these rules is to apply direct pressure if there is massive external bleeding.