How does the location of the rib fracture affect mortality?

Updated: Jun 13, 2017
  • Author: Sarah L Melendez, MD; Chief Editor: Trevor John Mills, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

First-rib fractures are considered indicators for increased morbidity and mortality in major trauma. [3, 4, 5] According to one study based on information in the UK Trauma Audit and Research Network, first-rib fracture was a significant predictor of injury severity (Injury Severity Score >15) and polytrauma. [3]

In a study by Murphy et al, patients with a fracture of the first or second rib had higher mortality than patients with other rib fractures (7.4% vs 4.1%), as well as increased great vessel injury (2.8% vs 0.6%). [4]

The image below depicts aortic injury, closely associated with a widening of greater than 8 cm measured at the widest points of the mediastinum.

Aortic injury is closely associated with a widenin Aortic injury is closely associated with a widening of greater than 8 cm measured at the widest points of the mediastinum on an upright anteroposterior chest radiograph.

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