All fractures are potentially life-threatening and should be treated accordingly. It is unlikely that a fractured arm will result in death, but a failure to treat it appropriately with adequate splinting, pain relief, and eventual surgery will result in potential fat emboli and this will result in pulmonary fat emboli.
However, it is safe to say that certain types of fracture involve much greater risks of complications and death. These include:
1. Skull damage, due to the underlying importance of the brain that it is protecting
2. Jaw, due to the increased risk of airway involvement
3. Ribs and Sternum, due to the risk of pneumothorax, haemopneumothorax, flail segment, pericardial tamponade and difficulty breathing.
4. Pelvis, due to the high likelihood of profound hypovolaemia