Definitions for flail chest
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word flail chest
A severe injury of the rib cage where fragments of ribs become detached from the rest of the cage.
A flail chest is a life-threatening medical condition that occurs when a segment of the rib cage breaks under extreme stress and becomes detached from the rest of the chest wall. It occurs when multiple adjacent ribs are broken in multiple places, separating a segment, so a part of the chest wall moves independently. The number of ribs that must be broken varies by differing definitions: some sources say at least two adjacent ribs are broken in at least two places, some require three or more ribs in two or more places. The flail segment moves in the opposite direction as the rest of the chest wall: because of the ambient pressure in comparison to the pressure inside the lungs, it goes in while the rest of the chest is moving out, and vice versa. This so-called "paradoxical motion" can increase the work and pain involved in breathing. Studies have found that up to half of people with flail chest die. Flail chest is invariably accompanied by pulmonary contusion, a bruise of the lung tissue that can interfere with blood oxygenation. Often, it is the contusion, not the flail segment, that is the main cause of respiratory failure in patients with both injuries.
U.S. National Library of Medicine
A complication of multiple rib fractures, rib and sternum fractures, or thoracic surgery. A portion of the chest wall becomes isolated from the thoracic cage and exhibits paradoxical respiration.
Images & Illustrations of flail chest
Find a translation for the flail chest definition in other languages:
Select another language: