Insufficiency Fracture of the Sternum Simulating Myocardial Infarction: Case Report and Review of the Literature

January 2007
Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine;Jan2007, Vol. 211 Issue 1, p89
Academic Journal
Insufficiency fracture is a type of stress fracture that occurs when stress is applied to the bone with less than the normal elastic resistance, as in osteoporosis. Insufficiency fracture of the sternum is rare among all kinds of fractures. We describe two cases with insufficiency fractures of the sternum secondary to osteoporosis and thoracic kyphotic deformity. Both of the present cases, a 76-year-old woman and a 65-year-old woman, presented with severe anterior chest pain simulating myocardial infarction. However, cardiopulmonary examinations including chest radiographs, electrocardiograms, and laboratory tests were normal. Lateral radiographs of the sternum in both patients showed insufficiency fractures of the sternum. Conservative treatment with rib bandaging/bracing and analgesics relieved their symptoms. Clinical behavior, type of sternal insufficiency fractures, and mechanism of the fracture are reviewed from perusal of the literature. We emphasize that sternal insufficiency fracture should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute chest pain in the elderly along with myocardial infarction or pulmonary embolism.


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