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Minerva Pneumologica 2019 December;58(4):109-17

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4954.19.01863-7


language: English

Sequelae of traumatic rib fractures: management in the Emergency Department

Francesco GAVELLI 1, 2, Filippo PATRUCCO 2, 3 , Matteo DAVERIO 3, Nello DE VITA 2, Mattia BELLAN 2, 4, 5, Ottavio RENA 6, Piero E. BALBO 3, Gian C. AVANZI 1, 2, Luigi M. CASTELLO 1, 2

1 Department of Emergency Medicine, Maggiore della Carità University Hospital, Novara, Italy; 2 Department of Translational Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont (UPO), Novara, Italy; 3 Division of Respiratory Diseases, Medical Department, Maggiore della Carità University Hospital, Novara, Italy; 4 Center for Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases (CAAD), Novara, Italy; 5 Immunorheumatology Unit, Division of Internal Medicine, Maggiore della Carità University Hospital, Novara, Italy; 6 Unit of Thoracic Surgery, University of Eastern Piedmont (UPO), Novara, Italy

Rib fractures represent one of the most common chest injuries and they may be associated with immediate or potentially life-threatening consequences. In the emergency department setting it is crucial to identify the presence of rib injuries and trauma related complications requiring specialistic evaluation. Most frequent complications are represented by pneumothorax, hemothorax and pulmonary contusion even if vascular injuries are frequent. The mainstay of rib fractures management includes pain control, the treatment of complications and stabilization of chest wall deformities. In this narrative review we analyzed the role of radiological investigations in chest wall trauma with rib injuries, rib fractures patterns and their possible complications; finally, we included a section focused on the management of rib fractures, with general and non-surgical as well as surgical indications.

KEY WORDS: Rib fractures; Emergency medicine; Hospital emergency service; Pneumothorax; Hemothorax

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