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Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Apr;46(2):130-4. doi: 10.5090/kjtcs.2013.46.2.130. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Factors affecting pneumonia occurring to patients with multiple rib fractures.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Korea.



Rib fractures are the most common type of thoracic trauma and cause other complications. We explored the risk factors for pneumonia in patients with multiple rib fractures.


Four hundred and eighteen patients who visited our hospital with multiple rib fractures between January 2002 and December 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. Chest X-rays and chest computed tomography were used to identify injury severity. Patients with only a single rib fracture or who were transferred to another hospital within 2 days were excluded.


There were 327 male patients (78%), and the median age was 53 years. The etiologies of the patients' trauma included traffic accidents in 164 cases (39%), falls in 78 cases (19%), slipping and falling in 90 (22%), pedestrian accidents in 30 (7%), industrial accidents in 41 (10%), and assault in 15 (4%). The median number of rib fractures was 4.8. Pulmonary complications including flail chest (2.3%), lung contusion (22%), hemothorax (62%), pneumothorax (31%), and hemopneumothorax (20%) occurred. Chest tubes were inserted into the thoracic cavity in 216 cases (52%), and the median duration of chest tube insertion was 10.26 days. The Injury Severity Score (ISS) and rib score had a median of 15.27 and 6.9, respectively. Pneumonia occurred in 18 cases (4.3%). Of the total cases, 33% of the cases were managed in the intensive care unit (ICU), and the median duration of stay in the ICU was 7.74 days. Antibiotics were administered in 399 patients (95%) for a median of 10.53 days. Antibiotics were used for more than 6 days in 284 patients (68%). The factors affecting pneumonia in patients with multiple rib fractures in multivariate analysis included age (p=0.004), ISS (p<0.001), and rib score (p=0.038). The use of antibiotics was not associated with the occurrence of pneumonia (p=0.28). In-hospital mortality was 5.3% (n=22).


The factors affecting risk of pneumonia in patients with multiple rib fractures included age (p=0.004), ISS (p<0.001), and rib score (p=0.038). Elderly patients with multiple traumas have a high risk of pneumonia and should be treated accordingly.


Hemothorax; Trauma

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