Sternal fractures: a retrospective analysis of 272 cases

J Trauma. 1993 Jul;35(1):46-54. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199307000-00008.


Objective: To determine the incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with fractures of the sternum.

Design: A retrospective review of the medical records of all patients treated in an emergency department with the radiologic diagnosis of sternal fracture during a 6 1/2 year period between January 1, 1985 and June 30, 1991.

Setting: A level II trauma center in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.

Patients: 272 patients were eligible for analysis. Only 6 patients of 251 involved in motor vehicle collisions were documented as not wearing seatbelts.

Results: The incidence of sternal fracture as a result of motor vehicle collisions was 3%. Sternal fracture is more common in female victims and the elderly and is associated with a very low incidence of cardiac arrhythmias requiring treatment. It has a mortality of 0.7%.

Conclusions: Sternal fracture is a common injury in a population where restraints are frequently used. PATIENTS with an isolated sternal fracture do not require cardiac monitoring and those under 40 years of age may be cared for in a short stay ward.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morbidity
  • Multiple Trauma / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sternum / injuries*