The Association of Reamed Intramedullary Nailing and Long-Term Cognitive Impairment

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Abstract

Objectives:

To examine the association of reamed intramedullary nailing (IMN) and long-term cognitive impairment in trauma intensive care unit survivors.

Design:

Prospective observational cohort.

Setting:

Academic Level I trauma center.

Patients:

One hundred seventy-three patients with multiple trauma (Injury Severity Score greater than 15) who presented to a Level I trauma intensive care unit from July 2006 to July 2007 without evidence of intrancranial hemorrhage.

Intervention:

None.

Main Outcome Measure:

Twelve-month cognitive impairment defined a priori as two neuropsychological test scores 1.5 standard deviation below the mean or 1 neuropsychologic test score 2 standard deviations below the mean.

Results:

One hundred eight of 173 patients (62.4%) were evaluated 12 months after injury with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests. There were 18 patients who received a reamed IMN and 14 of 18 (78%) of these patients had cognitive deficit at follow-up. Fracture treatment with a reamed IMN was associated with long-term impairment (27.4% vs 8.2%, P = 0.03). Multivariable logistic regression found that a reamed IMN (odds ratio, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.95–10.9; P = 0.06) was a moderate risk factor for the development of cognitive impairment 12 months after injury after controlling for Injury Severity Score, level of education, intraoperative hypotension, and duration of mechanical ventilation.

Conclusions:

Fracture fixation with a reamed IMN is moderately associated with cognitive impairment in this cohort of multiple trauma patients without intrancranial hemorrhage at 1 year postinjury. Orthopaedic trauma research should continue to investigate a potential association of acute fracture management and long-term cognitive outcome.

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