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Case of the Week 353

What's the most likely diagnosis?

  • 24 year-old in motor vehicle rollover accident

Frontal Supine Chest Radiograph

  1. Pneumonia
  2. Clavicular fracture
  3. Pulmonary embolism
  4. Flail chest
  5. Mitral stenosis

Additional Image - Axial CT of upper left thorax


Additional Image


Axial CT image of upper left thorax




4. Flail Chest



More (Click Discussion Tab)

Flail Chest

General Considerations

  • Segment of thoracic cage is separated from remainder of chest wall by significant blunt chest trauma
  • Relatively uncommon, but potentially life-threatening
  • Definition varies from two fractures per rib for two contiguous ribs to two fractures per rib for three contiguous ribs
  • Sternum may also be involved with ribs on both sides of chest
  • Severity of underlying lung and cardiac injury are clinically more important than fractures themselves

    More ...


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