PURPOSE: This study aims to determine if sternal fracture is a predictor of discharge requiring additional care and mortality.
METHODS: Blunt pediatric trauma admissions (<18 years) in the Kid's Inpatient Database (2016) were included in analysis. Weighted incidence of sternal fracture was calculated and adjusted for using survey weight, sampling clusters, and stratum. Regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with poor outcomes.
RESULTS: Annual incidence of sternal fracture in the pediatric blunt trauma population was 0.43 per 100,000. Of 50,076 patients identified, 236 had sternal fractures. The sternal fracture patients were older (median 16 vs 10 years, P < 0.001) and motor vehicle accident was more frequently the mechanism of injury (78% vs 24%, P < 0.001). Common injuries associated with sternal fracture included clavicle fracture (43%), abdominal organ injury (28%), spinal fracture (47%), lung injury (65%), and rib fracture (47%). Sternal fracture patients were more frequently discharged to receive additional care (22% vs 5%, P < 0.001) and to die of their injuries (3.8% vs 0.9%, P < 0.001). When adjusting for other factors associated with poor outcomes, sternal fracture was not an independent predictor of mortality or discharge to care.
CONCLUSIONS: Sternal fracture is a severe injury in the pediatric population, but it is not independently associated with need for a higher level of care after discharge or mortality.
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