Incidence of Nerve Injury After Extremity Trauma in the United States

William M. Padovano, Jana Dengler, Megan M. Patterson, Andrew Yee, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, Matthew D. Wood, Amy M. Moore, Susan E. Mackinnon. Hand 2020 Read More


Background: Traumatic peripheral nerve injuries cause chronic pain, disability, and long-term reductions in quality of life. However, their incidence after extremity trauma remains poorly understood. Methods: The Truven MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database from 2010 to 2015 was used to identify patients aged 18 to 64 who presented to emergency departments for upper and/or lower extremity traumas. Cumulative incidences were calculated for nerve injuries diagnosed within 2 years of trauma. Cox regression models were developed to evaluate the associations between upper extremity nerve injury and chronic pain, disability, and use of physical therapy or occupational therapy. Results: The final cohort consisted of 1 230 362 patients with employer-sponsored health plans. Nerve injuries were diagnosed in 2.6% of upper extremity trauma patients and 1.2% of lower extremity trauma patients. Only 9% and 38% of nerve injuries were diagnosed by the time of emergency department and hospital discharge, respectively. Patients with nerve injuries were more likely to be diagnosed with chronic pain (hazard ratio [HR]: 5.9, 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.3-8.2), use physical therapy services (HR: 10.7, 95% CI, 8.8-13.1), and use occupational therapy services (HR: 19.2, 95% CI, 15.4-24.0) more than 90 days after injury. Conclusions: The incidence of nerve injury in this national cohort was higher than previously reported. A minority of injuries were diagnosed by emergency department or hospital discharge. These findings may improve practitioner awareness and inform public health interventions for injury prevention. © The Author(s) 2020.

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Posted on November 3, 2020
Posted in: Axon Injury & Repair, Publications Authors: , ,