Background: The assessment of the sternal fracture and concomitant injuries is discussed.
Methods: Two hundred sternal fractures were analyzed with respect to accident circumstances, fracture morphology and topography, and associated injuries.
Results: Traffic accidents were frequent; 89.2% of them were motor vehicle crashes of restrained passengers, 76.5% of fractures were localized in the corpus sterni, and 8.5% of the injuries resulted in fractures or complete disruptions of the synchondrosis manubriosternalis. Nondisplaced or slightly displaced fractures (75.5%) occurred more frequently compared with moderately and severely displaced fractures (24.5%). In 29.5% of the patients, concomitant thoracic injuries were diagnosed. Spinal fractures were evaluated in 13%. In displaced fractures of the corpus, thoracic and cardiac injuries were observed frequently. In fractures or disruptions of the synchondrosis manubriosternalis, concurrence of spinal fractures clearly increased.
Conclusion: The observation of fracture morphology and topography, with reference to displacement, gives important information about the existence of serious concomitant injuries and can determine further diagnostic and therapeutic options in sternal fractures.