Author(s): Hills MW, Delprado AM, Deane SA
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Abstract Prospective data from blunt trauma victims admitted to one hospital were analyzed to determine the significance of sternal fractures and possible associated injuries. A total of 12,618 patients were admitted over a 6 1/2 year period, of whom 2226 (17.6\%) were injured while in a motor vehicle. One hundred seventy-two sternal fractures were recorded with 152 (89\%) occurring in motor vehicle occupants. Vehicle occupants with sternal fractures included a greater proportion of patients over 50 years (56\% vs. 11\%), more females (55\% vs. 34\%) and more seat belt wearers (70\% vs. 40\%). There was no association with serious visceral chest injury (including cardiac contusion). There was an association with thoracic spine fractures (Chi-squared 5.871, df = 1, p < 0.05). Sternal fractures in motor vehicle occupants were associated with less injury overall (median ISS = 5.5) compared with those without sternal fractures (median ISS = 13). Assessment of such patients should include age and injury mechanism to reduce the rate of admission and investigation of patients whose sole injury is a sternal fracture without significant pain.
This article was published in J Trauma
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research