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J Trauma Inj. 2017 Dec;30(4):179-185. English. Original Article.
Park HB , Hyun SY , Kim JJ , Jang YS .
Department of Emergency Medicine, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea.
Department of Trauma Surgery, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, Incheon, Korea.


Rib fracture is the most common complication of blunt thoracic trauma. We investigated the effect of rib fracture on pulmonary function in the conservatively treated patients.


From January 2000 to February 2017, we reviewed the records of 72 patients with rib fracture and pulmonary function tests were performed. According to the number of rib fractures, patients were classified into two groups: less than six fractured ribs (group A) and more than six fractured ribs (group B). The groups were compared concerning demographics, underlying diseases, associated thoracic injuries, surgery, mechanical ventilator times, days spent in the intensive care unit and pulmonary function test.


There were no statistically significant differences in the demographic data between the two groups. Mean hospitalization was 13.5 days in group A and 27.0 days in group B (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in the pulmonary function test.


We conclude that pulmonary function is restored by conservative treatment in patients with rib fractures even if the number of rib fractures increases. In patients with multiple rib fractures, studies comparing open rib fixation and conservative treatment of long term pulmonary function are required.

Copyright © 2019. Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors.