Sternal fractures in children: An analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank

Eric H. Rosenfeld, Patricio Lau, Sohail R. Shah, Bindi Naik-Mathuria, David E. Wesson, Derek S. Wakeman, Adam M. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe the epidemiology and evaluate the clinical significance of traumatic sternal fractures. Methods: Patients age ≤ 18 years with sternal fractures in the National Trauma Database research datasets from 2007-2014 were identified. Patient demographics, injuries, procedures, and outcomes were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Results: Three thousand one hundred sixty patients with sternal fracture were identified. Ninety percent of injuries occurred in patients between 12 and 18 years old. Median injury severity score (ISS)was 17 [9,29]. Exploratory thoracotomy was performed in 1%. Thirty-nine percent were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). On multivariate regression, predictors of ICU stay > 1 day were increasing ISS, lack of the use of protective devices, decreasing Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), tachycardia, and pulmonary contusion. Median hospital length of stay was 4 [2, 9]days. In-hospital mortality was 8%. Predictors of mortality were lower GCS, increasing ISS, decreasing oxygen saturation, hypotension, and cardiac arrest. Use of protective devices and seat belts did not affect mortality. Conclusion: Sternal fractures in patients increase in incidence with age, and poor outcomes are impacted by associated injuries and complications. The presence of a sternal fracture should trigger a careful diagnostic evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-983
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt trauma
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Sternal fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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