General Trauma

An Evidence-Based Approach to Patient Selection for Emergency Department Thoracotomy: Creating the EAST Practice Management Guideline

Activity Details
  • Credit Type: CME
  • Credit Amount: 1.00
  • Cost: $70.00
  • Release: Jul 6, 2015
  • Expires: Jul 5, 2018
  • Estimated Time to Complete:
    1 Hour(s)
  • System Requirements:
  • Average User Rating:
    (1 Rating)


Mark J.  Seamon Mark J. Seamon, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery,
Department of Surgery
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Needs Statement

Since its first description nearly 50 years ago, emergency department thoracotomy (EDT) has remained among the most controversial procedures that physicians perform.  Clinicians are forced to make immediate life or death decisions which attempt to balance the last chance of survival with the risk of salvaging patients with severe anoxic encephalopathy or exposing healthcare providers to blood-borne pathogens.  A selective approach to the performance of EDT based on several predictors of survival has emerged.  The creation of evidence-based recommendations for the physician facing the most common presenting clinical scenarios after critical injury provides a framework for rapid, knowledgeable decision-making. 

Target Audience

All physicians, residents, medical students, nurses and EMS providers caring for critically injured patients.


Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the shortcomings of the current body of EDT literature
  2. Explain the effectiveness of EDT for improving survival and neurologically intact survival after penetrating injury.
  3. Describe the effectiveness of EDT for improving survival and neurologically intact survival after blunt injury.
  4. Compare the risks and benefits associated with performing EDT based on injury mechanism, injury location and the presence of signs of life.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma. The University of Kentucky College of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine presents this activity for educational purposes only. Participants are expected to utilize their own expertise and judgment while engaged in the practice of medicine. The content of the presentations is provided solely by presenters who have been selected for presentations because of recognized expertise in their field.

ACGME Competencies

  • Patient care
  • Medical knowledge
  • Practice-based learning and improvement

Faculty Disclosure

No speakers, authors, planners or content reviewers have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

The material presented in this course represents information obtained from the scientific literature as well as the clinical experiences of the speakers. In some cases, the presentations might include discussion of investigational agents and/or off-label indications for various agents used in clinical practice. Speakers will inform the audience when they are discussing investigational and/or off-label uses.

Content review confirmed that the content was developed in a fair, balanced manner free from commercial bias. Disclosure of a relationship is not intended to suggest or condone commercial bias in any presentation, but it is made to provide participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a presentation.


This activity is jointly provided by the University of Kentucky and Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.