An analysis of 214 cases of rib fractures
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INTRODUCTION: Rib fractures are the most common type of injury associated with trauma to the thorax. In this study, we investigated whether morbidity and mortality rates increased in correlation with the number of fractured ribs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data from 214 patients with rib fractures who applied or were referred to our clinic between January 2007 and December 2008 were retrospectively evaluated. The patients were allocated into three groups according to the number of fractures: 1) patients with an isolated rib fracture (RF1) (n = 50, 23.4%), 2) patients with two rib fractures (RF2) (n = 53, 24.8%), and 3) patients with more than two rib fractures (RF3) (n = 111, 51.9%). The patients were evaluated and compared according to the number of rib fractures, mean age, associated chest injuries (hemothorax, pneumothorax, and/or pulmonary contusion), and co-existing injuries to other systems. FINDINGS: The mean age of the patients was 51.5 years. The distribution of associated chest injuries was 30% in group RF1, 24.6% in group RF2, and 75.6% in group RF3 (p < 0.05). Co-existing injuries to other systems were 24% in group RF1, 23.2% in group RF2, and 52.6% in group RF3 (p < 0.05). Two patients (4%) in group RF1, 2 patients (3.8%) in group RF2, and 5 patients (4.5%) in group RF3 (total n = 9; 4.2%) died. CONCLUSION: Patients with any number of rib fractures should be carefully screened for co-existing injuries in other body systems and hospitalized to receive proper treatment.