Purpose: Distal radius fractures are the most common long bone fracture in the United States, with an estimated incidence of 640,000 cases per year. Operative fixation presents a theoretical risk factor for the development of upper-extremity venous thromboembolism (UE-VTE). Additionally, patients presenting with distal radius fracture commonly have preexisting comorbidities that further increase the risk of UE-VTE. Finally, UE-VTE is considered the highest risk for eventual development of pulmonary embolism. Despite this, scant attention has been paid to studying UE-VTE in this population. The purpose of this study was to measure the incidence of this complication and to identify possible medical factors that increased the risk of developing UE-VTE. Methods: We queried the Truven MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters Database for all patients who experienced a distal radius fracture and were subsequently treated with open reduction and internal fixation between 2012 and 2016. Patients were identified using relevant Common Procedural Terminology codes. Demographic and medical variables were tabulated. Our primary outcome was the development of ipsilateral UE-VTE or pulmonary embolism in the first 60 days after surgery. Results: The study included 24,494 patients. The mean age was 50.7 years (range, 18–91), and 58% were women. There were 79 cases (0.3%) of UE-VTE and 19 cases of pulmonary embolism in the study population (24.1% of all UE-VTE cases; 0.08% of total sample). Multivariable logistic regression showed that coexisting heart failure and estrogen use were associated with increased risk of UE-VTE. Conclusions: Although uncommon, the development of UE-VTE after open reduction and internal fixation for distal radius fractures is a concerning complication. Coexisting heart failure and estrogen use are associated with increased risk of UE-VTE. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.
- Distal radius fracture
- deep vein thrombosis
- upper-extremity venous thromboembolism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine