A multidisciplinary clinical pathway decreases rib fracture-associated infectious morbidity and mortality in high-risk trauma patients

Am J Surg. 2006 Dec;192(6):806-11. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2006.08.048.


Background: We initiated a multidisciplinary clinical pathway targeting patients greater than 45 years of age with more than 4 rib fractures. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effect of this pathway on infectious morbidity and mortality.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study. Data evaluated included patient demographics, injury characteristics, pain management details, lengths of stay, morbidity, and mortality. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using a significance level of P < .05.

Results: When adjusting for age, injury severity score, and number of rib fractures, the clinical pathway was associated with decreased intensive care unit length of stay by 2.4 days (95% confidence interval [CI] -4.3, -0.52 days, P = .01) hospital length of stay by 3.7 days (95% CI -7.1, -0.42 days, P = .02), pneumonias (odds ratio [OR] 0.12, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.34, P < .001), and mortality (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.13 to 1.03, P = .06).

Conclusions: Implementation of a rib fracture multidisciplinary clinical pathway decreased mechanical ventilator-dependent days, lengths of stay, infectious morbidity, and mortality.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Critical Pathways*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / epidemiology*
  • Infections / etiology
  • Infections / mortality
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Rib Fractures / complications
  • Rib Fractures / therapy*