Research has determined that 60 to 90 percent of all sternum fractures are suffered in car accidents. This type of injury is often seen in females and in those over the age of 50, and it is thought to be rare for a child to suffer such an injury. As the sternum covers important parts of the body such as the heart and lungs, an injury to that body part could result in additional injuries or even death.
When the sternum is fractured, it is common for a rib fracture to have also taken place. This could result in damaged blood vessels, collapsed lungs or infection within the bone itself. Blood can get inside of the chest cavity, which causes a condition known as hemothorax. In addition, it may be possible to puncture the heart, rupture the aorta and experience bruising on both the heart and the lungs.
It is estimated that 25 to 45 percent of injuries related to sternum fracture result in death. An additional 10 percent of all spinal injuries are related to an initial fracture of the sternum. To determine if an individual has a sternum injury, a doctor will look for swelling or bruising of the chest in addition to a deformed ribcage. Individuals who have trouble breathing may also have an injured sternum.
Those who have suffered from a car accident injury may wish to speak a personal injury attorney. An attorney may be able to review the case and take steps to get an individual everything that he or she is entitled to under the law. It may be possible to win compensation for medical bills and other expenses related to the accident. For instance, an injured victim may receive compensation to pay for in-home care or for long-term physical therapy.