Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 168-169
Multiple rib fractures in severe kyphoscoliosis: A question mark spine

1 Department of Anaesthesia, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Orthopaedics, Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi, India

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Date of Submission28-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance06-Mar-2020
Date of Web Publication10-Jun-2020

How to cite this article:
Gill RK, Rathi U, Mudgal A, Choudhary C. Multiple rib fractures in severe kyphoscoliosis: A question mark spine. J Emerg Trauma Shock 2020;13:168-9

How to cite this URL:
Gill RK, Rathi U, Mudgal A, Choudhary C. Multiple rib fractures in severe kyphoscoliosis: A question mark spine. J Emerg Trauma Shock [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Jan 26];13:168-9. Available from:


Polytrauma in a kyphoscoliotic (KS) patient heightens the risks manifold as the physiology is already compromised. A 28-year-old male, a known case of severe KS, presented with multiple rib fractures on the right side and right tibia fracture. Blunt force trauma to the chest pointed to suspected hemothorax which was managed with intercostal drain placement (32 Fr). After initial resuscitation, tracheal intubation was attempted in view of persistent hypoxemia. Severe thoracolumbar KS was observed clinically which was later confirmed by radiography (Cobb's angle >100°) [Figure 1]. Trachea was intubated in the second attempt (as per institutional protocol) due to distorted anatomy, and the patient was shifted to the intensive care unit for further management. Bedside, echocardiography was performed (ejection fraction of 49% with normal valvular function). Computed tomography of the chest was planned to assess the nature of the injury, but the patient developed cardiopulmonary arrest secondary to hypovolemic shock which was refractory to conservative management.
Figure 1: Chest X-ray showing multiple rib fractures on the right side with severe kyphoscoliosis

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KS is due to disruption of balance between structural and dynamic components of the spine.[1] Such patients pose a challenge to anesthesiologist for surgery or intensive management.[2],[3] KS with Cobb's angle >100° is rarely encountered.[4] Rib fractures distort the already compromised anatomical and physiological derangements and make the patient prone to complications, e.g. pneumonia, pulmonary effusion, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and atelectasis or lobar collapse.[5] A 30% reduced compliance along with weakened chest wall and lung parenchyma predisposes the patients to ventilation–perfusion mismatch. As the disease progresses, the patient may land into pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure. Rib cage deformity may result in kinking and compressing great vessels and ultimately causing cardiac failure.[6]

In our patient, the chest wall compliance was already compromised, but the rib fractures aggravated the insult and led to cardiopulmonary overload. KS patients with deranged status further hinder the management and may deviate the course toward more aggressive one. Complete understanding of the anatomical and pathophysiological changes warrants the need for urgent evaluation of cardiopulmonary system. Although KS is rare, it might present to an anesthesiologist in any scenario and basic understanding of the pathophysiology may change the course of treatment.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.


We are thankful to the Department of Anesthesia at Government Medical College, Chandigarh, for support.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Sood S, Kamath MR, Shetty AS. Anesthetic management of an elderly patient with kyphoscoliosis and dilated cardiomyopathy posted for abdominal hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy. Saudi J Anaesth 2015;9:464-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Korula S, Ipe S, Saramma SP. Parturient with severe kyphoscoliosis: An anesthetic challenge. J Obstet Anaesth Crit Care 2011;1:81-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Pandith S, Mukherjee A, Santosh CK, Ravindra BS, Joshi M. Anesthetic management of a patient with thoracolumbar kyphoscoliosis coming for emergency endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Karnataka Anaesth J 2016;2:69-71.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Chopra S, Adhikari K, Agarwal N, Suri V, Sikka P. Kyphoscoliosis complicating pregnancy: Maternal and neonatal outcome. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2011;284:295-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Witt CE, Bulger EM. Comprehensive approach to the management of the patient with multiple rib fractures: A review and introduction of a bundled rib fracture management protocol. Trauma Surg Acute Care Open 2017;2:e000064.  Back to cited text no. 5
Pajdziński M, Młynarczyk P, Miłkowska-Dymanowska J, Białas AJ, Afzal MA, Piotrowski WJ, et al. Kyphoscoliosis-What can we do for respiration besides NIV? Adv Respir Med 2017;85:352-8.  Back to cited text no. 6

Correspondence Address:
Ravneet Kaur Gill
Department of Anaesthesia, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_26_20

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