Background/purpose: Sternal fractures are rare in children. The purpose of this series is to document traumatic findings in pediatric patients with sternal fractures at a Level 1 trauma center. Study design: We reviewed the charts of patients with radiologically confirmed sternal fractures from a trauma database at a pediatric Level 1 trauma center between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2015. We report mechanisms of injury, associated injuries, complications, and outcomes associated with sternal fractures. Results: Over the 16-year period, 19/25,781 (0.07%) admitted patients had radiologically confirmed sternal fractures. 15/19 (78.9%) patients were male. The median age was 14 years, with interquartile range 10–16 years. 7/19, (36.8%) were sustained owing to motor vehicle accidents. Associated injuries included substernal hematoma (n = 6), pulmonary contusion (n = 4), vertebral injury (n = 2), rib fracture (n = 4), intraabdominal injury (n = 3), pneumothorax (n = 3), long bone injury (n = 3) traumatic brain injury (n = 2), hemothorax (n = 2), pneumomediastinum (n = 2) and cardiac contusion (n = 1). Conclusions: In this series, pediatric sternal fractures were caused by high velocity mechanisms and had significant comorbidity. While patients with isolated sternal fractures may be candidates for emergency department discharge, a thorough evaluation should be performed in children with sternal fractures to identify concurrent injuries. Level of evidence: Level IV.
- Cardiac contusion
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health