Can portable bedside fluoroscopy replace standard, postreduction radiographs in the management of pediatric fractures?

G Q Sharieff, J Kanegaye, C D Wallace, R I McCaslin, J R Harley
Pediatric Emergency Care 1999, 15 (4): 249-51

OBJECTIVE: To determine the accuracy of portable bedside fluoroscopy in documenting postreduction fracture alignment in the pediatric emergency department (ED).

DESIGN/SETTING: Prospective trial in an urban pediatric ED.

PARTICIPANTS: Convenience sample of 80 pediatric patients requiring ED reduction of isolated long bone fractures.

METHODS: Patients who underwent closed fracture reduction using portable fluoroscopic guidance (FluoroScan) in the ED were enrolled in the study. Postreduction images were obtained using both bedside fluoroscopy and conventional radiographs. A pediatric orthopedic subspecialist, blinded to clinical outcome, reviewed the fluoroscopic and radiographic images for adequacy of alignment and rated the utility of conventional radiography for fracture management.

RESULTS: The patients were 2.5 to 16 years of age (mean 8.3). Distal radial and radioulnar fractures comprised 96% (76/80) of cases. Sixty-three percent of the fractures were displaced, and the mean angulation of the primary fracture site was 24 degrees . Fluoroscopy was found to be 100% sensitive (75/75 cases) and 100% specific (5/5 cases) in predicting postreduction fracture position when compared to conventional radiographs. Intra-rater observer agreement on the necessity of conventional postreduction radiographs was 0.92 (95% CI 0.82-1.00) using the kappa coefficient. In no case did postreduction radiographs alter acute fracture management.

CONCLUSIONS: Bedside fluoroscopy with printed fluoroscopic images are highly reliable in evaluating fracture reduction and can replace conventional radiography in documenting adequate distal forearm fracture reduction when there is no intraarticular involvement.

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