Background. Major thoracic trauma is consistent with high mortality rate because of associated injuries of vital thoracic organs and dangerous complications. The flail chest occurs after disruption of the skeletal continuity of chest wall and demands because of its pathophysiological complexity rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Conclusions. Basic pathophysiological mechanism of the flail chest is respiratory distress, which is provoked by pulmonary contusions and paradoxical chest wall motion. The treatment should be pointed to improvement and support of respiratory functions and include aggressive pain control, pulmonary physiotherapy and selective mechanical ventilation. Views about operative fixation of the flail chest are still controversial. Neither mortality rate neither long-term disability are improved after operative fixation.
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