Isolated sternal fractures treated on an outpatient basis

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The aim of this study is to investigate the need for admission of patients with isolated sternal fracture (ISF) by prospectively and randomly discharging or admitting them.


Patients with ISF after the completion of investigations were randomly discharged or admitted. Investigations performed included lateral chest x-ray; chest computed tomography; electrocardiogram; cardiac ultrasound; definition of C-reactive protein; and cardiac enzymes, such as creatine phosphokinase, myocardial branch of creatine phosphokinase, and troponin I (cardiac specific). These investigations were repeated after 6 hours in the admission and the next day in both groups.


Forty-two patients were included in the study. Twenty-one were admitted, whereas 21 were discharged. Electrocardiogram and ultrasound were normal in both groups upon presentation and the next day. Creatine phosphokinase and myocardial branch of creatine phosphokinase, although elevated at presentation, were normal the next day and similar in both groups. There was no morbidity, need for surgery, or mortality in both groups during a 6-month follow-up.


Patients with ISF can be discharged safely as soon as investigations are completed. Extensive myocardial assessment is not needed on the posttraumatic period. Myocardial involvement seems unlikely in patients with ISF, who can be treated with oral analgesics.

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