Management of 150 flail chest injuries: analysis of risk factors affecting outcome

Athanassiadi, Kalliopi; Gerazounis, Michalis; Theakos, Nikolaos
August 2004
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Aug2004, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p373
Academic Journal
Objective: Flail chest continues to be an important injury with significant complications. The records of 150 patients presenting with flail chest injury were reviewed to determine risk factors affecting morbidity and mortality. Material and method: During a 7-year period 150 patients with a flail chest injury were admitted to our trauma center. There were 111 men (74%) and 39 women (26%) ranging in age from 18 to 88 years with a mean age of 56.9. Only 66 (44%) had an isolated flail chest injury on admission. The majority of patients were older than 55 years (n=89, 59.3%), 80 (53.3%) presented with an hemo-, or/and pneumothorax, 36 (24%) sustained a head injury and 25 (16.7%) needed ICU monitoring. The mean ISS score was 38. Age, concomitant diseases, presence of pneumothorax and/or hemothorax, Severity Score (ISS), the need for mechanical support, length of stay and deaths were evaluated by using the t-test and χ2 test where appropriate. Results: Sixty-seven patients (44.6%) were conservatively treated, while 80 (53.3%) needed thoracic drainage. Only in 6 cases (4%) thoracotomy was required, while in 9 (6%) laparotomy was performed. Mortality rate reached 5.3%. The main factors correlated with an adverse outcome were: ISS and the presence of associated injuries, while age, hemopneumothorax and mechanical support affected the length of hospitalization but not the mortality. Conclusions: (1) Age and hemopneumothorax did not affect mortality. (2) ISS was found to a strong predictor on outcome concerning morbidity and prolonged hospitalization but did not influence mortality rate. (3) Mechanical support was not considered a necessity for the treatment of flail chest.


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