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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 49-51

To fix or not to fix: Delayed repair of anterior flail in the frail and multiply injured

Department of Surgery, Riverside Methodist Hospital (OhioHealth), Columbus, OH, USA

Correspondence Address:
William B DeVoe
Department of Surgery, Riverside Methodist Hospital (OhioHealth), Columbus, OH
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jctt.jctt_7_19

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A 72-year-old male with a history of atrial fibrillation, remote stroke, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presented following a high-speed motor vehicle collision. Injuries included bilateral segmental rib fractures with radiographic anterior flail and a right acetabular fracture. Secondary to thoracic trauma, mechanical ventilation was required and the patient underwent surgical stabilization of left-sided fractures utilizing by 75, 75, 115, and 50 mm plates for ribs 3, 4, 5, and 6, respectively, early in his hospital course followed by fixation of the right hemipelvis. A trial of extubation was unsuccessful. During reintubation, he developed marked abdominal distension and large volume pneumoperitoneum with signs of compartment syndrome. Emergent decompressive laparotomy revealed a perforated posterior prepyloric gastric ulcer that was repaired. Intensive care unit course was complicated by 72 h of multisystem organ failure; however, he recovered and was again nearing the point of ventilator liberation. Right-sided rib stabilization, albeit it delayed, was performed with fixation of 3, 4, 5, and 6 accomplished with long-segment plates bridging to costal cartilage in order to achieve stability. Dense inflammation and callous formation were encountered prolonging operative time. Tracheostomy was performed 3 days postoperatively, despite minimal ventilator requirements, given ongoing secretions and development of pseudomonal pneumonia. The patient was weaned to tracheostomy collar with in-line speaking valve within 2 weeks. This case highlights surgical rib stabilization in a frail, multiply injured patient through which ventilator wean was expedited and rehabilitation potential was optimized.

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