Article Abstract

Surgical stabilization for multiple rib fractures: whom the benefit? —a prospective observational study

Authors: Anne Olland, Marc Puyraveau, Sophie Guinard, Joseph Seitlinger, Déborah Kadoche, Stéphanie Perrier, Stéphane Renaud, Pierre-Emmanuel Falcoz, Gilbert Massard


Background: Surgical repair has demonstrated a beneficial effect on outcome for patients presenting with flail chest or with multiple rib fractures. We hypothesized that benefit on outcome parameters concerns predominantly patients being extubated within 24 hours post-operatively.
Methods: We prospectively recorded all patients presenting with chest traumatism eligible for surgical repair with anticipated early extubation according to our institutional consensus (flail chest, major deformity, poor pain control, associated lesions requiring thoracotomy). We compared outcomes of patients extubated within 24 hours post-operatively to those who required prolonged ventilator support. We tested predictive factors for prolonged intubation with univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: From 2010 to 2014, 132 patients required surgical repair. Two thirds were extubated within 24 hours following surgical repair. Pneumonia was the main complication and occurred in 30.3% of all patients. Patients extubated within 24 hours following surgical repair had significantly shorter ICU stay and shorter in-hospital stay (P<0.0001 both). Pneumonia occurred significantly more often in patients with longer mechanical ventilation (over 24 hours) (P<0.0001) and the overall post-operative complications rate was higher (P=0.0001). Main independent risk factors for delayed extubation were bilateral chest rib fractures and initially associated pneumothorax.
Conclusions: We conclude that patients extubated within 24 hours after repair have an improved outcome with reduced complication rate and shorter hospital stay. The initial extent of the trauma is an important risk factor for delayed extubation and high complication rate despite surgical stabilization.