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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 2008 April;21(2):73-6


language: English

Cough induced rib fractures in patients with respiratory infection

Sakellaridis T., Andrianopoulos E., Stamatelopoulos A., Laoutides G., Kormas P.

Department of Thoracic Surgery 401 Army General Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece


Aim. The incidence of treating a patient with cough induced rib fracture and the relatively rarity of this entity prompted us to do a retrospective study. Cough induced rib fractures are a peculiar entity in correlation with infection of the respiratory system, and usually are misdiagnosed. A retrospective study was undertaken to determine the incidence, the significance of this injury, the type and season the infection occurred, as well as the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and also to point out the existence of cough induced rib fractures.
Methods. During a four-year period, a total of 2536 patients were admitted to our hospital with respiratory system infection. 13 of those patients were diagnosed to have cough induced rib fractures and their medical records were retrospectively reviewed.
Results. There were 12 men and 1 woman with a mean age of 22.4 years (range 19 to 30 years). No complication had occurred. Mean hospital stay was 14.9 days (range 4 to 35 days). 9 patients had an isolated rib fracture each, 1 patient had bilateral fractures (one each side) and 3 patients had two ipsilateral rib fractures. The fractures occurred in ribs 6th to 10th, mostly on the anterior-lateral side of the rib.
Conclusion. The results show that rib fractures caused by cough, although rare, usually happen during the course of any kind of respiratory system infections. When they occur, their management is observation, analgesia and treatment of their complications.

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