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From 1999 to 2003, 101 patients (M/F = 83/18, mean age = 46 + 18 y) with thoracic trauma have been admitted
to the Center for Thoracic Surgery in Varese.
Over 50% of pts. with major thoracic trauma were treated by chest tube drainage; however, surgery was necessary just
in 16/101 pts.; 29 pts. were admitted to ICU; deaths were 3/101.
The Authors recorded 23/101 sternal fractures. Routine blood test, chest radiography and EKG were performed in all
patients; in case of abnormal EKG, echocardiography was performed; in case of widened mediastinum, chest CT was
mandatory. 13/23 pts. showed associated injuries, 12 pts. a non-aligned sternal fracture, 7 pts. mediastinal hematoma.
Simple observation in hospital was indicated in 15/23 pts. with sternal fractures; chest tubes were positioned in 3 pts.
(hemopneumothorax) and one patient was surgically treated because of painful sternal pseudoarthrosis (2 months after
trauma). Admission in ICU was necessary in 3 pts. with non-aligned sternal fracture, mediastinal hematoma and associated
injuries. No patient with sternal fracture died.