JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Relationship between chronic pathologies of the supraspinatus tendon and the long head of the biceps tendon: systematic review

Lucía Redondo-Alonso, Gema Chamorro-Moriana, José Jesús Jiménez-Rejano, Patricio López-Tarrida, Carmen Ridao-Fernández
BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014 November 18, 15: 377
25408141

BACKGROUND: Chronic supraspinatus tendinopathy is a common clinical problem that causes functional and labor disabilities in the population. It is the most frequent cause of shoulder pain. This pathology may be frequently associated to the affectation of the long head of biceps tendon (LHBT), the main stabilizer of the glenohumeral joint together with the supraspinatus. The main aim of this work is to study the prevalence of lesions in LHBT associated to the chronic pathology of the supraspinatus tendon.

METHODS: A systematic review was carried out between May to July 2013 in the electronic databases: CINAHL, WOK, Medline, Scopus, PEDro, IME (CSIC) and Dialnet. The keywords used were: 1) in English: chronic, supraspinatus "long head of the biceps tendon", biceps, rotator cuff, tendinosis, tendinopathy, evaluation, examination; 2) in Spanish: supraespinoso, biceps, tendinopatía. Inclusion criteria of the articles included subjects with a previously diagnosed chronic pathology of rotator cuff (RC) without previous surgery or any other pathologies of the shoulder complex. The total number of articles included in the study were five.

RESULTS: The results show an epidemiological relationship between both tendons. The age of the subjects included in the review was between 35 and 80 years, and some of the studies seem to indicate that the tendinopathy is more frequent in men than in women. The sample size of the studies varies according to the design, the highest being composed of 229 subjects, and the minimum of 28. Not all the articles selected specify the diagnostic testing, though the ones most normally used are arthroscopy, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and assessment tests. The percentage of associated lesions of LHBT and supraspinatus tendon is between 78.5% and 22%, with a major prevalence in the studies with a smaller sample.

CONCLUSIONS: The review of literature corroborates an association between the chronic pathology of the supraspinatus tendon and LHBT due to the epidemiological data. In addition, some authors confirm the existence of an anatomical and functional relationship between LHBT and the supraspinatus tendon, the latter being part of the LHBT pulley.

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