Correlating first- and second-rib fractures noted on spine computed tomography with major vessel injury

Ankaj Khosla, Joseph Ocel, Arash Ehteshami Rad, David F. Kallmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


First- and second-rib fractures diagnosed on plain radiographs have been associated with traumatic aortic injury. We examined whether such fractures diagnosed on computed tomography (CT), which is of greater sensitivity than plain radiograms for rib fractures, are associated with traumatic vascular injury. We identified 1,894 patients who had undergone a chest CT angiogram with indication of trauma between 2005 and 2008. Among these, 185 patients were selected at random. The main mechanism of injury was motor vehicle accident or a fall. The patients were divided into two groups: patients with first- and/or second-rib fractures and those without. Proportions of patients with major vessel injury noted on CT angiography were compared between groups. Information regarding displacement of the fracture, location of the fracture, detection upon plain film, and gender of the patients was also evaluated and correlated with incidence of major vessel injury. Fisher's test and χ2 analysis were used to determine significance of the data. Incidence of major vessel injury was similar between patients with and without first- and/or second-rib fractures (7% vs. 9%, respectively; p∈=∈0.59). No subset of type of rib fracture was associated with greater incidence of aortic injury. First- and second-fractures are not associated with greater incidence of aortic injury. Thus, the previous axiom that first- and second-rib fractures should result in increased examination for aortic injury may not hold true.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-464
Number of pages4
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • CT angiography
  • First- and second-rib fractures
  • Major vessel injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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