Background: Patients sustaining multiple rib fractures have a significant risk of developing morbidity and mortality. More evidence is emerging that the indication of surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) should expand beyond flail chest. Nevertheless, little is known about factors associated with poor outcomes after surgical fixation. We reviewed patients with rib fractures to further explore the role of SSRF; we matched two groups by propensity score (PS). Method: A comparison of patients with blunt thoracic trauma treated with SSRF between 2010 and 2020 was compared with those who received conservative treatment for rib fractures. Risk factors for poor outcomes were analyzed by multivariate regression analysis. Results: After tailored SSRF, the number of fractured ribs was not associated with longer ventilator days (p = 0.617), ICU stay (p = 0.478), hospital stay (p = 0.706), and increased nonprocedure-related pulmonary complications (NPRCs) (p = 0.226) despite having experienced much more severe trauma. In the multivariate regression models, lower GCS, delayed surgery, thoracotomy, and flail chest requiring mechanical ventilation were factors associated with prolonged ventilator days. Lower GCS, higher ISS, delayed surgery, and flail chest requiring mechanical ventilation were factors associated with longer ICU stays. Lower GCS and older age were factors associated with increased NPRCs. In the PS model, NPRCs risk was reduced by SSRF. Conclusions: The risk of NPRCs was reduced once ribs were surgically fixed through an algorithmic approach, and poor consciousness and aging were independent risk factors for NPRCs.
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