Surgical stabilization of multiple rib fractures in an Asian population: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Weiwei He, Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital
Yi Yang, Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital
Raymark Salonga, ClinChoice Inc.
Ledford Powell, California Mission Hospital
Patrick Greiffenstein, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Jonne T.H. Prins, Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland
Stephen Patrick Abella, ClinChoice Inc.


Background: There is no consensus on the effectiveness of surgical stabilization in multiple rib fractures in Asia, especially among patients with a non-flail rib fracture pattern. We aim to synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of surgical stabilization of rib fractures (SSRF) in an Asian population with multiple nonflail rib fractures. Methods: The MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were searched in this systematic literature review and meta-analysis to identify studies conducted in Asia that included patients with multiple non-flail rib fractures in at least one of their treatment groups. The intervention of interest was SSRF, and the comparator was a nonoperative treatment. The duration of mechanical ventilation (DMV) was the primary outcome. Posttreatment pain score, pneumonia, atelectasis, intensive care unit length of stay (ICU LOS), hospital length of stay (HLOS), need for tracheostomy, respiratory function, functional outcomes, quality of life (QoL), and mortality were identified as the secondary outcomes. A random effects model (REM) was used to pool data for outcomes reported in two or more studies. Results: A total of 12 studies (n=2,440 patients) were included. There was a significantly shorter DMV {mean difference (MD): –5.23 [95% confidence interval (CI): –9.64 to –0.81], P=0.02}, lower 4-week posttreatment pain score [standard mean difference (SMD): –2.24 (95% CI: –3.18 to –1.31), P<0.00001], lower risk for pneumonia [risk ratio (RR): 0.46 (95% CI: 0.23 to 0.95), P=0.04], lower risk for atelectasis [RR: 0.44, (95% CI: 0.29 to 0.65), P<0.0001], shorter ICU LOS [MD: –4.00 (95% CI: –6.33 to –1.66), P=0.0008], and shorter HLOS [MD: –6.54 (95% CI: –9.28 to –3.79), P<0.00001] in favor of SSRF. Effect estimates for the need for tracheostomy [RR: 0.67 (95% CI: 0.42 to 1.08), P=0.10] and mortality [RR: 0.94 (95% CI: 0.37 to 2.41), P=0.90] were nonsignificant. Conclusions: In the Asian population with mainly non-flail rib fracture patterns, SSRF was associated with shorter DMV, ICU LOS, and HLOS as well as lower risks for atelectasis and pneumonia, and pain scores after 4 weeks. The risk of mortality was comparable between treatment groups.