Prognostic value of computed tomography classification systems for intra-articular calcaneus fractures

Michael P Swords, Timothy B Alton, Sarah Holt, Bruce J Sangeorzan, John R Shank, Stephen K Benirschke
Foot & Ankle International 2014, 35 (10): 975-80

BACKGROUND: There are several published computed tomography (CT) classification systems for calcaneus fractures, each validated by a different standard. The goal of this study was to measure which system would best predict clinical outcomes as measured by a widely used and validated musculoskeletal health status questionnaire.

METHODS: Forty-nine patients with isolated intra-articular joint depression calcaneus fractures more than 2 years after treatment were identified. All had preoperative CT studies and were treated with open reduction and plate fixation using a lateral extensile approach. Four different blinded reviewers classified injuries according to the CT classification systems of Crosby and Fitzgibbons, Eastwood, and Sanders. Functional outcomes evaluated with a Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment (MFA). The mean follow-up was 4.3 years.

RESULTS: The mean MFA score was 15.7 (SD = 11.6), which is not significantly different from published values for midfoot injuries, hindfoot injuries, or both, 1 year after injury (mean = 22.1, SD = 18.4). The classification systems of Crosby and Fitzgibbons, Eastwood, and Sanders, the number of fragments of the posterior facet, and payer status were not significantly associated with outcome as determined by the MFA. The Sanders classification trended toward significance. Anterior process comminution and surgeon's overall impression of severity were significantly associated with functional outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: The amount of anterior process comminution was an important determinant of functional outcome with increasing anterior process comminution significantly associated with worsened functional outcome (P = .04). In addition, the surgeon's overall impression of severity of injury was predictive of functional outcome (P = .02), as determined by MFA.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, comparative series.

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