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Fracture of the rib

Also known as Fractured Rib, Broken Rib, and Rib Fracture

A rib fracture is a break or fracture in one or more of the bones making up the rib cage. The first rib is rarely fractured because of its protected position behind the clavicle (collarbone). However, if it is broken, serious damage can occur to the brachial plexus of nerves and the subclavian vessels. Fractures of the first and second ribs may be more likely to be associated with head and facial injuries than other rib fractures. The middle ribs are the ones most commonly fractured. Fractures usually occur from direct blows or from indirect crushing injuries. The weakest part of a rib is just anterior to its angle, but a fracture can occur anywhere. The most commonly fractured ribs are the 7th and 10th. A lower rib fracture has the complication of potentially injuring the diaphragm, which could result in a diaphragmatic hernia. Rib fractures are usually quite painful because the ribs have to move to allow for breathing. When several ribs are broken in several places a flail chest results, and the detached bone sections will move separately from the rest of the chest.

Source: Wikipedia

What are the symptoms?

Within all the people who go to their doctor with fracture of the rib, 81% report having rib pain, 61% report having sharp chest pain, and 49% report having back pain. The symptoms that are highly suggestive of fracture of the rib are rib pain and hurts to breath, although you may still have fracture of the rib without those symptoms.


What might my doctor prescribe?

Common Tests and Procedures

Patients with fracture of the rib often receive radiographic imaging procedure, plain x-ray, complete blood count, x-ray computed tomography, intravenous fluid replacement, urinalysis, kidney function tests and electrolytes panel .

Common Medications

The most commonly prescribed drugs for patients with fracture of the rib include esmolol, hydrocodone-potassium guaiacolsulfonate, dobutamine, entacapone (comtan), caffeine, methyl salicylate-menthol topical, norepinephrine, aspirin / oxycodone, peri-colace, vecuronium, buprenorphine (suboxone), docusate / sennosides, usp and meperidine / promethazine .

Who is at risk?

Groups of people at highest risk for fracture of the rib include age 75+ years age 45-59 years. On the other hand, age 1-4 years almost never get fracture of the rib.

Age

< 1 years
0.1x
1-4 years
0.0x
5-14 years
0.1x
15-29 years
0.6x
30-44 years
1.1x
45-59 years
1.6x
60-74 years
1.3x
75+ years
1.8x

Sex

Male
1.5x
Female
0.7x

Race/Ethnicity

Black
0.5x
Hispanic
0.8x
White
1.2x
Other
0.7x
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