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