Individuals who drive in New London and elsewhere throughout Connecticut may be interested in knowing more about the dangers of sternum fractures. According to reports, fractures of the sternum occur more frequently due to motor vehicle accidents than any other cause. During a collision, a driver's chest could forcefully connect with a vehicle's steering wheel or dashboard, causing damage to the breastbone. Reports indicate that failure to wear a seatbelt and lack of air bags are often factors when a crash results in a sternum fracture.
Because the ribcage circle plays a vital role in protecting internal organs, sternum fractures and the rib fractures that are often associated with this type of injury may have life-threatening implications. Injuries that may be associated with a breastbone fracture include aortic rupture, punctured lungs, pulmonary bruising, blood in the chest cavity, cardiac contusion and injuries to the spinal cord. In addition, bone infections, collapsed lungs and pneumonia are serious complications that may follow a sternum fracture.
The severity of some accident injuries may not be immediately evident, so it is important that any person who experiences trauma to the chest during a crash be aware of the symptoms of breastbone fracture. These symptoms may include pain, a crunching or grinding noise in the chest area, muscle spasms, breathing difficulty or pain while laughing, sneezing or coughing and more.
Treatment will vary depending on the type and extent of any injuries associated with the sternum fracture; however, treatment of the fracture itself may require up to 24 weeks of rest and may affect a patient's ability to work. Some car accident victims may be relieved to know that they may be entitled to financial compensation for lost wages, the costs of rehabilitation and medical services, pain and suffering and other losses.