Comparison of thoracic ultrasound, clinical acumen, and radiography in patients with minor chest injury

J Trauma. 2004 Jun;56(6):1211-3. doi: 10.1097/01.ta.0000075800.65485.48.


Background: This study was designed to compare ultrasonography, clinical findings, and radiography in the detection of rib and sternal fractures.

Methods: In a prospective study, 88 patients presenting consecutively to an emergency department with isolated blunt chest injury of mild to moderate force were recruited.

Results: Ultrasonography yielded a sensitivity of 80.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 69.5-88.5) for detecting chest wall fractures compared with sensitivities of 26.0 (95% CI, 15.8-36.3) for clinical acumen and 23.7 (95% CI, 14.7-34.8) for radiography.

Conclusion: Early ultrasonography is more accurate than clinical and radiologic evaluation at detecting rib and sternal fractures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Examination
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thoracic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Thoracic Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography