Resuscitative Thoracotomy

  • Chrissy Guidry
  • Demetrios DemetriadesEmail author


The major muscles, which are divided during the resuscitative thoracotomy, include the pectoralis major, the pectoralis minor, and the serratus anterior muscles.
  • Pectoralis major muscle: it arises from the medial half of the clavicle, the anterior surface of the sternum, and the cartilages of all the true ribs. The 5-cm-wide tendon inserts into the upper humerus.

  • Pectoralis minor muscle: it originates from the third, fourth, and fifth ribs, near their cartilages, and inserts into the coracoid process of the scapula.

  • Serratus anterior muscle: it is attached to the upper eight or nine ribs and inserts into the medial part of the scapula.

  • Left phrenic nerve: it descends on the lateral surface of the pericardium.

  • Thoracic aorta: it is situated to the left of the vertebral column.

  • Esophagus: it descends on the right side of the aorta to the level of the diaphragm, where it moves anterior and to the left of the aorta.

  • Aorta: it is the first structure felt while sliding your fingers along the left posterior chest wall toward the spine.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical CareUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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