First Aid Management of Flail chest
This refers to a condition where the ribs surrounding the chest have been fractured in several places creating a ‘floating’ section in the chest wall.
As the casualty draws breathe the chest moves normally, but the flail section will move inwards and outwards when the rest of the chest is moving outwards and inwards. These are known as paradoxical chest movements.
Image from Orthobullets
Signs and symptoms
· Severe breathing difficulties.
· Painful, shallow breathing.
· Same signs and symptoms of a fracture.
· Paradoxical chest movement.
Treatment of flail chest
· Dial 999 immediately for an ambulance.
· Place the casualty in the most comfortable position for them, preferably sat up and inclined towards the injury.
·Place large amounts of padding over the flail area.
· Put the arm of the injured side in an elevated sling, squeezing the arm gently against the padding to help provide gentle, firm support to the injury.