Korean J Leg Med.  2017 May;41(2):56-59. 10.7580/kjlm.2017.41.2.56.

Fatal Delayed Hemothorax after Simple Rib Fracture

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Division of Forensic Medicine, National Forensic Service Busan Institute, Yangsan, Korea.
  • 3Division of Forensic Investigation, National Forensic Service Seoul Institute, Seoul, Korea. sanchee@korea.kr

Abstract

We report the case of a 66-year-old man who died of fatal delayed hemothorax after blunt trauma to the chest. When the deceased was transferred to the hospital, his vital signs were stable; hence, medical attention was focused only on the fracture on right ankle. Three days after the orthopedic surgery, he became unsettled with symptoms similar to delirium and exhibited unstable vital signs; he then suddenly died. On autopsy, a beveled fracture was identified on the posterior aspect of the left second rib with hemothorax. It was because of a rupture in the intercostal artery at the fracture site that a simple fracture in a rib, following a blunt chest trauma can be a potentially life-threatening condition. We suggest that a meticulous examination should be performed at the rib fracture sites when a blunt trauma to the chest is suspected even when there are no internal organ injuries identified except hemothorax.

Keyword

Hemothorax; Rib fractures; Death; Autopsy

MeSH Terms

Aged
Ankle
Arteries
Autopsy
Delirium
Hemothorax*
Humans
Orthopedics
Rib Fractures*
Ribs*
Rupture
Thorax
Vital Signs
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