Common injuries that may be due to blunt force trauma, falls, nonaccidental trauma, aggressive CPR, severe coughing, athletic activities, or metastatic lesions and primary bone tumors.
Without evidence of major trauma, about 80% of rib fractures in infants and toddlers are a direct result of nonaccidental trauma (i.e., physical abuse).
Assessment includes identification of the fracture itself and any concurrent injuries. These include pneumothorax, hemopneumothorax, pulmonary contusions, and a flail chest.
Chest radiography is the first-line imaging in patients presenting with known trauma, followed by a chest CT if needed.
Treatment includes pain control, physical therapy, and mobilization, and treatment of concomitant injuries.
An increased number of ribs fractured correlates with increased morbidity and mortality.
Rib fractures are common injuries that may be due to blunt force trauma, falls, nonaccidental trauma, aggressive cardiopulmonary resuscitation, severe coughing, athletic activities, or fractures due to primary bone tumors and metastatic lesions. Rib fractures can be relatively benign, but often may be a marker of concomitant injuries such as pneumothorax, hemopneumothorax, and/or pulmonary contusions. An increased number of fractured ribs correlates with increased morbidity and mortality.
Discipline of Orthopaedics & Trauma
University of Adelaide
Head of Orthopaedic Surgery
Women's and Children's Hospital
PC declares that he has no competing interests.
Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon
Women's and Children's Hospital, Modbury Hospital, Port Augusta Hospital
Senior Research Associate
Orthopaedics and Trauma
University of Adelaide
NW declares that she has no competing interests.
Dr Peter Cundy and Dr Nicole Williams would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Paul Novakovich and Dr Brent Ponce, previous contributors to this monograph. PN and BP declare that they have no competing interests.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Orthopaedic Research Center
Academic Medical Center
GK declares that he has no competing interests.
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Board of Family Medicine
JP declares that he has no competing interests.
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