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Mortality after distal radial fractures in the Medicare population

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Shauver MJ1, Zhong L1, Chung KC2. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2015 Jun 17. pii: 1753193415589735. [Epub ahead of print


The occurrence of a low energy fracture of the distal radius increases the risk for another, more serious fracture, such as a proximal femoral fracture. Early mortality after a proximal femoral fracture has been widely studied, but the association between a distal radial fracture and mortality is unknown. The date of death for all Medicare beneficiaries who sustained an isolated distal radial fracture in 2007 was determined using Medicare Vital Statistics files. The adjusted mortality rate for each age-sex group was calculated and compared with published US mortality tables. Distal radial fractures were not associated with an increased mortality rate. In fact, beneficiaries had a significantly lower mortality rate after distal radial fractures than the general population. This may be related to the injured beneficiaries' involvement in the healthcare system. Mortality rate did not vary significantly based on time from injury. Our results indicate that any mortality is unlikely to be attributable to the distal radial fracture or its treatment.