BACKGROUND: The present case contributes to the limited literature on delayed chest wall hematomas following blunt trauma. The literature review provides a summary of similar previously reported cases.
CASE PRESENTATION: We report the case of a 59-year-old Caucasian male who presented to the emergency department with a rapidly expanding chest wall hematoma. Six weeks earlier, he had sustained multiple rib fractures and a pneumothorax after falling 4 m from a ladder. Computed tomography angiography was used to identify two sources of active bleeding on the left dorsal scapular artery. The patient underwent surgery with evacuation of the hematoma and ligation of the artery. The patient was hospitalized for 3 days and recovered with no sequelae.
CONCLUSIONS: A literature review revealed eight previously reported cases of chest wall hematomas exterior to the endothoracic fascia following blunt trauma. Most cases were initially diagnosed by computed tomography of the chest and finally by angiogram. Management options range from surgical drainage to angiographic embolization. This case is unusual regarding the delay in the development of the hematoma and illustrates the importance of considering this diagnosis even weeks after relevant trauma.