Accuracy of Emergency Room Physicians' Interpretation of Elbow Fractures in Children

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Abstract

Elbow fractures in children can be difficult diagnoses for inexperienced physicians to make. The purpose of this prospective study was to determine the accuracy of radiograph interpretation of elbow fractures in children by emergency room (ER) physicians. Thirty fractures were analyzed. The ER physician's radiograph interpretation was compared to the final interpretation by the treating staff pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Accuracy rates were determined for overall agreement and by fracture subtype. Overall accuracy of ER physicians' interpretation was 53% (16/30). This study underscores the importance of educating ER physicians and residents in children's fracture interpretation to optimize patient outcomes. Orthopedists need to be vigilant when taking care of these patients to prevent unnecessary complications.

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