Bone and Joint Institute

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Journal of Hand Surgery Global Online





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© 2019 Purpose: Older patients (aged older than 65 years)appear to tolerate a great degree of anatomic deformity after DRFs; however, the threshold beyond which the deformity becomes unacceptable is unknown. The purposes of this study were to identify the acceptable threshold for radiographic parameters after DRFs in patients aged over 65 years according to a patient-rated pain and disability outcome measure and to determine whether baseline activity levels influenced these parameters. Methods: A cohort of 190 older adults (aged 65 years and older)with DRF were selected from an existing prospectively collected database. The influence of specific radiographic parameters (ulnar variance, radial inclination [RI], and volar-dorsal tilt)and baseline activity levels on 1-year Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation (PRWE)scores was investigated. The odds ratio (OR)of a poor outcome according to a 1-year PRWE (cutoff score of ≥25)at various alignment thresholds was calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Activity level (underactive vs active)was determined using the Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity survey. Results: Radiographic parameters for the cohort varied widely (mean ulnar variance, 1.9 ± 0.9 mm, range –2.4 to 8.0 mm; mean RI, 18.7°± 5.9°, range, 0.1° to 38°; and mean dorsal tilt, 4.5° ±11.9°, range –24.0° to 33.6°). Most of the cohort (n = 158, 83%)had a good outcome (mean PRWE, 14.4 ± 19.5). The OR of a poor outcome was significant for RI less than 20° (OR = 3.6; 95% CI 1.5–8.7)and dorsal tilt greater than 15° (OR = 5.3; 95% CI, 1.0–27.8). Malalignment on radiographs and a poor outcome according to PRWE were not significantly different in the underactive versus active subpopulations. Conclusions: This study provides alignment cutoffs that best discriminate adverse pain and disability patient outcomes after DRF in a cohort aged more than 65 years. This information can be used to counsel older patients about their increased likelihood of a poor outcome with RI less than 20˚ or a dorsal tilt greater than 15°. Further research is required to examine outcomes after applying these thresholds in a prospective manner to management decision algorithms for DRF in patients aged over 65 years. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.


Crown Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of The American Society for Surgery of the Hand.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

The article was originally published as:

Symonette, C. J., MacDermid, J. C., & Grewel, R. (2019). Radiographic Thresholds With Increased Odds of a Poor Outcome Following Distal Radius Fractures in Patients Over 65 Years Old. Journal of Hand Surgery Global Online, 1 (2), 65-69. DOI:

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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