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01.12.2014 | Original Article | Ausgabe 8/2014 Open Access

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology 8/2014

Evaluation and management of pulseless pink/pale hand syndrome coexisting with supracondylar fractures of the humerus in children

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology > Ausgabe 8/2014
Łukasz Matuszewski


Elbow region fractures are the most common injuries in children. Among them, supracondylar fractures of the humerus are the most frequent. Massive displacement of the fractured bone causes severe injury to the soft tissue of that particular region. As a result, various types of injuries to the brachial artery such as entrapment, laceration, spasm of the vessel, and the presence of an intimal tear or thrombus formation are usually observed. The main goal of this study was to present our approach to children with supracondylar humerus fractures associated with brachial artery injuries. We would especially like to emphasize the necessity for other conservative or operative treatment concerning pulseless hand symptoms coexisting with supracondylar fractures of the humeral bone in children population. Data from 67 children were evaluated in our study. Supracondylar fractures were classified according to the Gartland’s scale. All patients had displaced extension type III injuries. During our follow-up study, we used Flynn’s grading system to evaluate functions of the elbow joint, forearm and wrist. Mean follow-up was 18 months; range, 13 months to 4 years. In the follow-up study, very good or good results were achieved in all 32 patients treated conservatively together with 6 patients with pulseless pink hand symptom. Very good or good results were achieved in 88 % of 35 patients operated on. Children who, after satisfactory closed reduction, have a well-perfused hand but absent radial pulse do not necessarily require routine exploration of the brachial artery. Conservative treatment should be applied unless additional signs of vascular compromise appear. Thus, exploration of the cubital fossa should be performed only if circulation is not restored by closed reduction.

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