A chest injury is any form of physical injury to the chest including the heart and lungs. Chest injuries account for 25% of all deaths from traumatic injury. Typically chest injuries are caused by blunt mechanisms such as motor vehicle collisions or penetrating mechanisms such as stabbings.
A rib fracture is a break or fracture in one or more of the bones making up the rib cage. The first rib is rarely fractured because of its protected position behind the clavicle (collarbone). However, if it is broken, serious damage can occur to the brachial plexus of nerves and the subclavian vessels. Fractures of the first and second ribs may be more likely to be associated with head and facial injuries than other rib fractures. The middle ribs are the ones most commonly fractured. Fractures usually occur from direct blows or from indirect crushing injuries. The weakest part of a rib is just anterior to its angle, but a fracture can occur anywhere. The most commonly fractured ribs are the 7th and 10th. A lower rib fracture has the complication of potentially injuring the diaphragm, which could result in a diaphragmatic hernia. Rib fractures are usually quite painful because the ribs have to move to allow for breathing. When several ribs are broken in several places a flail chest results, and the detached bone sections will move separately from the rest of the chest.
Rib fractures can occur without direct trauma and have been reported after sustained coughing and in various sports – for example, rowing, karting and golf – often in elite athletes. They can also occur as a consequence of diseases such as cancer or infections (pathological fracture).
A pulmonary laceration is a chest injury in which lung tissue is torn or cut. An injury that is potentially more serious than pulmonary contusion, pulmonary laceration involves disruption of the architecture of the lung, while pulmonary contusion does not. Pulmonary laceration is commonly caused by penetrating trauma but may also result from forces involved in blunt trauma such as shear stress. A cavity filled with blood, air, or both can form. The injury is diagnosed when collections of air or fluid are found on a CT scan of the chest. Surgery may be required to stitch the laceration, to drain blood, or even to remove injured parts of the lung. The injury commonly heals quickly with few problems if it is given proper treatment; however it may be associated with scarring of the lung or other complications.
Emergency medicine is a medical specialty involving care for patients with acute illnesses or injuries which require immediate medical attention. While not usually providing long-term or continuing care, emergency medicine physicians diagnose a variety of illnesses and undertake acute interventions to resuscitate and stabilize patients. Emergency medicine physicians practice in hospital emergency departments, pre-hospital settings via emergency medical services, other locations where initial medical treatment of illness takes place, and recently the intensive-care unit. Just as clinicians operate by immediacy rules under large emergency systems, emergency practitioners aim to diagnose emergent conditions and stabilize the patient for definitive care.
Physicians specializing in emergency medicine in the US and Canada can enter fellowships to receive credentials in subspecialties. These are palliative medicine, critical care medicine, medical toxicology, wilderness medicine, pediatric emergency medicine, sports medicine, emergency medical services, and undersea and hyperbaric medicine.
A bone fracture (sometimes abbreviated FRX or Fx, Fx, or #) is a medical condition in which there is a break in the continuity of the bone. A bone fracture can be the result of high force impact or stress, or trivial injury as a result of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, or osteogenesis imperfecta, where the fracture is then properly termed a pathologic fracture.
Although broken bone and bone break are common colloquialisms for a bone fracture, break is not a formal orthopedic term.