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Flail Chest 

Flail Chest
Chapter:
Flail Chest
Author(s):

Sumedh S. Hoskote

, John C. O’Horo

, and Craig E. Daniels

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190464813.003.0044
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date: 19 October 2019

Flail chest refers to a deformity of the chest wall caused by fracture of at least 3 consecutive ribs, each broken at 2 or more places. Flail chest may cause or exacerbate respiratory failure through paradoxical chest wall motion during the phases of respiration: The characteristic physical examination finding is that the flail segment moves inward during inspiration and outward during expiration. Management of flail chest requires attention to clinical recognition, mechanical ventilation, analgesia, and, in certain circumstances, surgical fixation.

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