Flail chest is characterized by pleuritic chest pain, ecchymosis, and dyspnea. A more difficult to detect symptom is abnormal chest motion.
Commonly associated injuries include pneumothorax, hemothorax, and pulmonary contusion. Intraabdominal, upper extremity, and head injuries are also often seen due to the severe mechanism of injury needed to cause flail chest.
Management begins with oxygen administration, monitoring for signs of respiratory failure, noninvasive positive airway pressure administration by mask, and analgesia. More severe conditions may require endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation.
S22.5XXA – Flail chest, initial encounter for closed fracture
S22.5XXB – Flail chest, initial encounter for open fracture
78011002 – Flail Chest
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls