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New tool to measure outcomes could help improve arm surgery for devastating nerve injury
Date:5/19/2011

ete inability to move the arm. The injury most frequently occurs from high-energy impact activities such as motor vehicle or motorcycle accidents, falls from significant heights, and high impact sporting injuries. In recent years, clinicians have made great strides in improving the surgery to treat this condition. After surveying the literature, however, HSS investigators began to discern that studies that reported outcomes of this surgery were not looking at the same characteristics.

To investigate this further, they conducted a search of Medline, the National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database, using the keywords brachial plexus, surgery, and outcomes. The search identified 660 articles on adult brachial plexus injuries over the past three years. After excluding articles that did not discuss surgical outcomes for this condition, they identified 49 articles that qualified for the final analysis. Drs. Lee, Scott W. Wolfe and Rohit Garg analyzed the type of brachial plexus outcome parameters and the consistency of outcomes-reporting between authors and centers. They found that reporting was very inconsistent.

Muscle strength, the most commonly reported outcome, was discussed in 84 percent of articles. Range of motion, however, was reported in less than half of the papers. No papers measured motion of the entire upper extremity and only 14 percent of papers detailed how the motion was measured. Functional outcome scores were recorded in only 12 percent and scores were recorded using different tools, so comparing studies was difficult. Functional outcome scores were recorded using a variety of different tools, including the DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand measure), a 30-item, self-report questionnaire designed to measure physical function and symptoms, as well as other tools such as the Constant Score for Shoulder Function, VAS functional score, or institution-specific questionnaires. Only 27 percent of papers me
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
phyllis.fisher@gmail.com
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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