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Notice to Readers: Blast Lung Injury: What Clinicians Need to Know

Worldwide terrorist activity increases the risk for injuries related to explosions; however, few health-care providers in the United States have experience treating these injuries. To address this concern, CDC has added the fact sheet, "Blast Lung Injury: What Clinicians Need to Know" to the Mass Trauma Preparedness and Response page on the CDC website ( Basic clinical information regarding the presentation, evaluation, management, and outcomes of blast lung injury (BLI) is provided; a chest radiograph of BLI also is included.

BLI is a direct consequence of a blast wave from a high-explosive detonation striking the body and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality both at the scene and among initial survivors. The impact on lungs results in tearing, hemorrhage, contusion, and edema. BLI is a clinical diagnosis characterized by respiratory difficulty and hypoxia, which can occur without obvious external injury to the chest.

BLI presents unique triage, diagnostic, and management challenges. A list of references and readings on BLI is provided with the fact sheet. Information regarding other injuries resulting from explosions is provided on the Mass Trauma Preparedness and Response page.

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Date last reviewed: 7/27/2005


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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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