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What are the dangers of a flail chest injury?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents

Riding your motorcycle may be a special joy for you, but it can also be dangerous if an irresponsible driver hits you and knocks you off your bike. The impact could break three or more of your ribs and in at least two places on each rib. This is a flail chest injury.

WebMD explains that a flail chest could cause you to die if medical professionals do not treat it in time. There are some ways multiple broken ribs may endanger your life.

Injuries to organs

Keep in mind that a flail chest is a major trauma. An impact strong enough to fracture your ribs may already have bruised or damaged your other chest organs. Some flail chest patients also suffer from a pulmonary contusion, which is a bruised lung.

Internal bleeding

As you walk, sit up or even breathe, you may shift your broken ribs. The cracked edges of the ribs could cut through your blood vessels or muscles. It is also possible your ribs will puncture an organ. Any of these injuries can result in internal bleeding, which could prove fatal in time.

Breathing problems

A possible sign of a flail chest is when you find it hard to breathe. This is because your broken ribs are interfering with the ability of your lung to expand. As a result, your body does not get enough oxygen and you could experience hypoxia. This generally leads to permanent organ damage.

The good news is that it is possible to recover from a flail chest injury. Depending on the severity of the condition, a doctor might not even have to perform surgery. Having this injury dealt with may avoid serious complications such as pneumonia and help you move on to rehabilitation and recovery.