RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Number of ruptured tendons and surgical delay as prognostic factors for the surgical repair of extensor tendon ruptures in the rheumatoid wrist.

OBJECTIVE: Extensor tendon ruptures in the rheumatoid wrist are usually restored by extensor tendon reconstruction surgery. However, the factors significantly correlated with the outcomes of extensor tendon reconstruction have not been defined. We examined factors showing a statistically significant correlation with postoperative active motion after tendon reconstruction.

METHODS: Spontaneous extensor tendon ruptures of 66 wrists in patients (mean age, 52.6 yrs) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were evaluated. All patients underwent tendon reconstruction surgery with wrist arthroplasty or arthrodesis. Active ranges of motion of the affected fingers were evaluated at 12 weeks postsurgery. Statistical significance was determined using multiple and single regression analyses.

RESULTS: Forty-six (69.6%) wrists had "good" results, while 13 (19.7%) and 7 (10.6%) wrists had "fair" and "poor" results, respectively. In multiple regression analysis, an increased number of ruptured tendons and the age at operation were independent variables significantly correlated with the postoperative active motion of reconstructed tendons (p = 0.009). Single regression analysis also showed a significant association between the number of ruptured tendons and surgical delay (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSION: The number of ruptured extensor tendons was significantly correlated with the results of tendon reconstruction, and the number of ruptured tendons was significantly correlated with preoperative surgical delay. Our results indicate that, in patients presenting with possible finger extensor tendon rupture, rheumatologists should consult with hand surgeons promptly to preserve hand function.

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