Closed Reduction of Distal Forearm Fractures by Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians: A Prospective Study

2014-07-23 21:09:34 | BioPortfolio


Distal forearm fractures are amongst the most frequently encountered orthopedic injuries in the pediatric emergency department (ED). Immediate closed manipulation and cast immobilization, is still the mainstay of management. The initial management of non-displaced or minimally displaced extremity fractures and relocation of uncomplicated joint dislocations is part of the usual practice of emergency medicine. Although focused training in fracture-dislocation reduction techniques is a part of the core curriculum of emergency medicine training programs, there is limited data discussing outcomes following restorative fracture care by pediatric emergency medicine (PEM)physicians.

The primary objective of this study is to compare length-of-stay and clinical outcomes after closed manipulation of uncomplicated, isolated, distal forearm fractures, by PEMs to those after manipulation by pediatric orthopedic surgeons. Our hypothesis is that there is no difference in emergency department length-of-stay when fracture reduction is performed by a PEM versus a post graduate year 3 or 4 orthopedic resident. Secondary outcomes that will be assessed include: loss of reduction needing re-manipulation at follow up, cast related complications, radiographic and functional healing at 6-8 weeks post injury.


Pediatric forearm fractures are common injuries and a frequent cause for an emergency room admission. Ward et al have outlined the demands that emergency department coverage places on practicing orthopedic surgeons. Assuming no statistically significant differences in outcomes, there are potential advantages of having PEMs provide restorative fracture care at the initial visit. This practice would permit judicious orthopedic consultation at a time when several emergency department's are facing an "on call" specialist coverage crisis and there exists a nationwide shortage of fellowship trained pediatric orthopedic specialists, in addition to ACGME mandated duty hour restrictions for orthopedic residents.

Pershad et al conducted a retrospective study with historical controls, of 60 patients with distal radius fracture that were reduced by an orthopedic resident or PEM physician. In this review, there were no differences in rates of re-intervention to restore fracture alignment or ED length-of-stay between the two groups.Mean facility charges were lower in the group treated by PEMs.

It is our hypothesis that with goal directed training, PEM physicians can perform closed reduction of uncomplicated distal forearm fractures with outcomes that are similar to when fracture reduction is performed by senior orthopedic resident physicians.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Investigator), Primary Purpose: Health Services Research


Pediatric Distal Forearm Fractures


Distal Forearm Fracture Reduction


Lebonheur Medical Center
United States




InMotion Orthopaedic Research Center

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:09:34-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Metabolic disorder associated with fractures of the femoral neck, vertebrae, and distal forearm. It occurs commonly in women within 15-20 years after menopause, and is caused by factors associated with menopause including estrogen deficiency.

Fractures of the larger bone of the forearm.

The larger of the two terminal branches of the brachial artery, beginning about one centimeter distal to the bend of the elbow. Like the RADIAL ARTERY, its branches may be divided into three groups corresponding to their locations in the forearm, wrist, and hand.

Fractures of the skull which may result from penetrating or nonpenetrating head injuries or rarely BONE DISEASES (see also FRACTURES, SPONTANEOUS). Skull fractures may be classified by location (e.g., SKULL FRACTURE, BASILAR), radiographic appearance (e.g., linear), or based upon cranial integrity (e.g., SKULL FRACTURE, DEPRESSED).

Disease involving the RADIAL NERVE. Clinical features include weakness of elbow extension, elbow flexion, supination of the forearm, wrist and finger extension, and thumb abduction. Sensation may be impaired over regions of the dorsal forearm. Common sites of compression or traumatic injury include the AXILLA and radial groove of the HUMERUS.

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