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How could a rib fracture affect the heart?

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Quick Answer

A rib fracture can affect the heart by damaging the aorta or other major blood vessels, according to Mayo Clinic. Blunt cardiac injury is a common complication from rib fractures, according to The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

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Full Answer

The risk of complications from rib fractures increases with the amount of broken ribs, according to Mayo Clinic. The complications differ according to which ribs are fractured. The aorta may be punctured or torn if one of the first three top ribs has been completely broken. Fractures in the other ribs may cause complications for other internal organs.

A blood clot may develop as a side effect from a rib fracture and create problems for the heart, according to Allina Health. Without treatment, an individual can develop an infection. The cause of the rib fracture may have caused additional injuries, such as damage to the heart, spleen, liver, or lungs.

If the rib fracture causes severe pain, it is likely a severe fracture, and the individual should seek treatment, according to Sportsinjuryclinic.net. A doctor can then perform X-rays to discover if there is any internal damage. If the rib fracture is less severe, there is little that can be done as treatment apart from resting.

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