Traumatic rib fractures and pleural lesions: what are the relations?


Linas Anužis1, Evaldas Buivydas1, Jurgita Zaveckienė2


1 Faculty of Medicine, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania

2 Department of Radiology, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania



Background: for many years external causes of mortality remain third most common cause of death in Lithuania. While rib fractures alone are not fatal outcome of trauma, complications caused by rib fractures may lead to lethal consequences. Rib fractures and associated complications are mainly diagnosed using computed tomography scanning or plain radiography. However, plain radiography is a routine diagnostic method for initial imaging in trauma patients. Aim of this study was to analyze relations between traumatic rib fractures and pleural lesions in different patients groups.

Materials and methods:142 patients data with at least one rib fracture was reviewed. Patients hospitalized in 2017 with ICD-10-AM diagnosis codes S22.3 and S22.4 were included. Data about gender, age, quantity and location of fractured ribs, presence or absence and location of pneumothorax, hemothorax and hemopneumothorax was gathered from medical records. In all 142 cases, rib fractures and pleural lesions were diagnosed by plain chest radiography. Patients’ sample was categorized according to age and gender.

Results: males had higher count of fractured ribs than females. Young patients had lower count of fractured ribs than both middle-aged and elderly patients. Pneumothorax occurred the most frequently among young patients, hemothorax – among elderly patients and pneumohemothorax – among middle-aged patients.

Conclusion: patients in different age groups were not equally susceptible for different pleural lesions. Highest count of fractured ribs was observed among males and patients over 40 years.

Keywords: rib fracture, pneumothorax, hemothorax, hemopneumothorax.