Ultrasound-guided pediatric forearm fracture reductions in a resource-limited ED


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Abstract

Background:Pediatric forearm fractures are a common presentation in emergency departments in Papua New Guinea. Often these children undergo “blind” closed reduction with reduction adequacy assessed by standard radiographs. This study aims to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of ultrasound (US) in guiding closed reduction of pediatric forearm fractures in a resource-limited setting.Methods:We recruited consecutive children with closed forearm fractures requiring reduction. A US scanner was used to visualize and aid fracture reductions. The outcome measures were the rate of successful reductions (ie, adequate alignment without the need for a second procedure or further surgical intervention), length of stay in hospital, and adverse events during each procedure and at follow-up after 6 weeks.Results:Of 47 children recruited, there were 44 (94%) successful reductions, whereas 3 (6%) required repeated reduction. The mean (SD) length of stay in hospital of the successful cases was 8.77 (3.66) hours. Two patients had tight plaster casts during early follow-up which were immediately addressed. Of the 44 successful cases, only 38 were retrieved for the final review. No further adverse events were observed in the latter.Conclusions:This small-scale study has demonstrated the safe and efficacious use of US-guided close reduction of pediatric forearm fractures in a low-resource setting. Using US, real-time visualization of reduction efforts can reassure the clinician in decision making, thus reducing the rate of repeated reductions and allowing shorter hospital stay.

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