Flail Segment

Flail chest is rare but may be suspected in cases of multiple rib fractures. Flail chest is the result of 2 or more adjacent ribs that are fractured in 2 or more places.

The affected area breaks away from the rib cage and moves in the opposite direction to the rest of the rib cage during inspiration and expiration.

Management – Flail Chest

As a first aider, it is hard to recognise whether the patient had a broken rib or if they in fact have a flail chest. It is advised that the first aider:

  • D.R.S.A.B.C.D.
  • Call 000 for an ambulance.
  • If conscious, place the casualty in a position where they are comfortable.  This is usually in a half sitting position and leaning towards the injured side with the head and shoulders supported.
  • If the casualty is unconscious, place into the recovery position with the affected side down, unless an object is embedded in the casualty.
  • Monitor the casualty’s breathing.