How to Treat a Sucking Chest Wound

When it comes to survival, knowing how and when you should treat a sucking chest wound is vital. The same applies for treating any other open injury on your body. When in doubt, always follow these guidelines until help arrives.

Open chest wound management is a difficult task, but it can be done. The first step in treating an open chest wound is to clean the wound and then cover with a sterile dressing.

Six basic steps to treat a sucking chest wound.

This potentially life-threatening injury has a lot of negative aspects. When a foreign item punctures the chest cavity, it causes a sucking chest wound. Bullets and shrapnel are frequent perpetrators.

When you breath, your lungs are made up of tiny sacs that fill with air. Your lungs are protected by your chest cavity, which includes your ribs, and there is enough room for them to expand. Outside air may pour into your chest cavity if anything pierces it, causing your lung to collapse. As your lung attempts to battle against the increased pressure coming in via the incision, you will be gasping or sucking for breath. As you attempt to breathe more deeply, the pressure increases.

Blood foams or bubbles at the wound site in most sucking chest wounds. Because it’s vital to treat such a trauma fast, you should presume any serious chest wound is a sucking chest wound. Apply prompt care and bring the wounded individual to a doctor as soon as feasible. The key to therapy is to seal up the chest cavity to keep outside air out of the lungs while yet allowing air to leave when the lungs expand. To do so, you’ll need to build a valve that permits air to leave but not enter the chest cavity.

1: Locate a flat, impermeable area that is around 3 times the size of the wound. Credit cards, plastic wrap, and even a mobile phone are all acceptable options.

2: If at all feasible, sterilize or clean the patch to prevent introducing microorganisms that might cause illness.

3: Tape three sides of the patch to the wound, leaving one side uncovered to enable air to escape.

4: Keep an eye on the patch to make sure no air is sucked in. If required, make adjustments.

5: If blood is blocking air from exiting the lungs, clear the valve region.

6: If the victim exhibits any of the following symptoms: extreme shortness of breath, uneven chest size, bulging neck veins, or blue lips, neck, or fingers, remove the patch.

Do you like the illustrations in this guide? Then our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness is for you! Get a copy from Amazon.

Ted Slampyak created the artwork.



A sucking chest wound is a type of injury that results from an object entering the chest cavity and puncturing one or more of the lung lobes. In most cases, it is caused by a penetrating trauma such as gunshot wounds. Reference: sucking wound.

Related Tags

  • treatment for an open chest wound emt
  • open chest wound signs and symptoms
  • open chest wound definition
  • occlusive dressing for chest wound
  • chest seal