Background Emergency physicians are trained in urgent fracture reduction. Many hospitals lack readily available in-house orthopedic coverage. Objectives The aim of this study was to determine success rates for reduction of pediatric distal radius or ulna fractures by emergency department (ED) physicians. Methods We conducted a retrospective study of children younger than 18 years presenting to a large, urban, freestanding children's hospital from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2010, with forearm fracture. Exclusions included open fracture, those requiring immediate surgical intervention, or additional fractures. The primary end point was the proportion of successful closed forearm fracture reductions in the ED, as defined by orthopedic follow-up. Results All reductions were performed by a board-certified/eligible pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physician or PEM fellow. Two hundred ninety-five fractures were reduced in the ED during the study period. Mean age was 8.27 years (median, 8 years; range, 1-16 years), and males comprised 69.2% (n = 204). A total of 222 fractures (76%) were of the distal forearm, and 70 involved the midshaft (24%). Orthopedic follow-up was completed in 77.3%. A total of 33 patients (11%) required remanipulation; 24 in the distal forearm fracture group (22 closed reductions, 2 open reductions with internal fixation) versus 9 in the midshaft group (7 closed reductions, 2 open reductions with internal fixation) (P = 0.948). Conclusions The literature reveals 7% to 39% of children with fracture reductions performed in the ED by orthopedic surgeons/residents require remanipulation. Our rate of 11% is consistent within that range. With training, PEM physicians have similar success rates as orthopedists in forearm fracture reductions.
- forearm fracture
- radius and ulna
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Emergency Medicine