Morbidity and Mortality Rates in Major Blunt Trauma to the Upper Chest

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It is widely believed that fractures of the first rib are associated with more severe injuries than fractures of other ribs. To confirm or refute that belief, we conducted a retrospective review of 168 patients with major blunt trauma resulting in fractures of the upper ribs treated at the North Carolina Baptist Hospital. A comparison of morbidity and mortality rates in relation to highest rib fractured showed essentially no correlation. We concluded that all patients with deceleration or crushing injuries involving upper-rib fractures must be suspected of having significant multiple organ system trauma and evaluated accordingly.

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