Author(s): Gerakopoulos E.; Walker L.; Melling D.; Scott S.
Source: Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma; Jan 2019; vol. 33 (no. 1); p. 9-14
Publication Date: Jan 2019
Publication Type(s): Article
Abstract:OBJECTIVES: To investigate and assess the effectiveness of surgical fixation of rib fractures in complex traumatic chest injuries compared with traditional nonoperative management. DESIGN: Retrospective observational comparative study. SETTING: Level 1 Major Trauma Centre in North West England. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: A total of 83 patients who were admitted urgently to our hospital after major trauma, between August 2012 and March 2015, and fulfilled the criteria for surgical fixation of their multiple rib fractures. Patients who had concomitant nonsurvivable injuries or did not consent for surgery were excluded. INTERVENTION: Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of multiple rib fractures and flail chest segments versus traditional nonoperative management. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcome of interest was the total hospital length of stay (LOS). Secondary outcomes included the incidence of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and the incidence of respiratory complications such as hospital-acquired pneumonia, need for mechanical ventilation, and/or tracheotomy. The mortality rate was also investigated. RESULT(S): A total of 83 patients were included, 47 of these in the ORIF group and 36 in the non-ORIF group. The mean hospital LOS for patients in the non-ORIF group was 30.41 days (SD 30.1). This was markedly reduced in the ORIF group to a mean of 14.53 days (SD 11.7), with the difference being statistically significant (P < 0.01). Twenty-eight patients (77.7%) in the nonoperatively managed group required admission to the ICU compared with a significantly lower 48.9% (23 patients) in the ORIF group (P < 0.01). The incidence of respiratory complications was lower in the ORIF group but this difference was not statistically significant. The mortality rate was 2.1% for the group that was treated surgically compared with 13.9% for the conservative group (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION(S): Surgical fixation of multiple displaced rib fractures reduced the total hospital LOS and the overall mortality in our major trauma patients and decreased the incidence of ICU admission. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.