Functional status following orthopedic trauma in young women

M. L. McCarthy, E. J. MacKenzie, M. J. Bosse, C. E. Copeland, C. S. Hash, A. R. Burgess, L. Bone, S. Gabram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the general health status and sexual function of women following serious orthopedic injury. Methods: Women aged 16-44 who were treated at a level I trauma center between 1986 and 1992 for a fracture to the pelvis or lower extremity were interviewed by telephone. The interview included the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) supplemented by questions about sexual function. The SF-36 is a measure of outcome from the respondent's point of view and consists of 36 items representing eight health concepts. Results: Of 289 eligible women, 233 (81%) were interviewed (123 pelvic fracture; 110 lower extremity fracture). Their mean Injury Severity Score was 17.9. Compared to age- and gender-standardized norms, study patients as a group scored significantly worse (lower scores) on all dimensions of the SF-36 except mental health (p < 0.05). Of the women interviewed, 45% reported feeling less sexually attractive due to their injury, and 39% reported a decrease in sexual pleasure. Women who reported arthritis that was attributed to their fracture had significantly poorer health outcomes than study subjects who did not. The most significant predictor of deviations from SF-36 norms was the presence of one or more comorbid chronic conditions. Conclusion: The results underscore the importance of considering comorbidities when evaluating health outcomes following major trauma. In addition, the relatively high rates of reported change in sexual function after injury argue for more attention to these issues in both clinical practice and outcomes research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-837
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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