Outcomes of Pediatric Fractures Managed With Closed Reduction by Orthopaedic Residents in the Emergency Department

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Abstract

Background:

Closed reduction of pediatric fractures is commonly performed by orthopaedic residents using conscious sedation in the emergency department (ED). The purpose of this study was to determine the rate of satisfactory reductions as performed by residents, and to determine the outcomes of these procedures.

Methods:

A retrospective review was performed of all fractures that underwent closed reduction under conscious sedation in the ED of a level 1 pediatric trauma center between January 1, 2010 and November 30, 2014. Initial and subsequent radiographs were reviewed and a determination was made as to whether the initial reduction was satisfactory, based on predetermined criteria for angulation and displacement. If a second reduction attempt in the operating room was necessary, this was noted. Chart notes were reviewed until a documented endpoint was reached, such as uneventful healing, malunion, nonunion, or growth arrest.

Results:

A total of 838 subjects were identified. The upper extremity was involved in 85% of the fractures. Of the initial 838 fracture reductions performed, 39 (4.7%) were unsatisfactory. Residents on their first pediatric orthopaedic rotation had a higher unsatisfactory reduction rate compared with more experienced residents (7.0% vs. 3.4%, P=0.01). A second reduction was performed for 94 of 749 (12.6%) fractures. Of these, 35 (37.2%) required an open procedure to accomplish a satisfactory reduction. Fractures with initially satisfactory reductions were significantly less likely to require a second reduction attempt than those with initially unsatisfactory reductions (9.2% vs. 80.0%, P<0.01). The likelihood of a satisfactory reduction was significantly higher in the upper extremity than in the lower extremity. Overall, the vast majority (99.2%) of fractures had a satisfactory final outcome.

Conclusions:

Most attempts at closed reduction of pediatric fractures in the ED by orthopaedic residents are successful, and the likelihood of a satisfactory reduction was associated with increased levels of resident experience. Fractures with an initially successful reduction were far less likely to require remanipulation.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—this is a therapeutic case series.

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