UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Geriatrics

Title: rib fractures in elderly patients

Keywords: geriatric, elderly, rib fractures (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/20/2011 by Amal Mattu, MD
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Rib fractures are associated with significant morbidity and mortality in the elderly, and the risk increases dramatically with each successive rib fractured. An elderly patient with 3 rib fractures has a mortality of 20% and risk of pneumonia is 31%. As a general rule, you should really think twice about discharging home any elderly patients with rib fractures.

[credit to Dr. Joe Martinez for bringing forth this information]


Bulger EM, Arneson MA, Mock CN, et al. Rib fractures in the elderly. J Trauma 2000;48:1040-1046.