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05.12.2016 | Original Article • ELBOW - FRACTURES | Ausgabe 2/2017

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology 2/2017

Supracondylar humerus fractures in children: the effect of weather conditions on their risk

Zeitschrift:
European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology > Ausgabe 2/2017
Autoren:
Juha-Jaakko Sinikumpu, Tytti Pokka, Hanna Hyvönen, Reija Ruuhela, Willy Serlo

Abstract

Introduction

Supracondylar humerus fractures are the most common fractures of the elbow in children. Many environmental factors such as weather conditions may affect the risk of these fractures. The purpose of the study was to analyze the effect of weather conditions (temperature, rainfall, wind) on fracture risk in children <16 years of age during the extended summer time period with the absence of snow cover.

Materials and methods

All children <16 years of age with an outdoor supracondylar humerus fracture between May 1 and September 30 in a defined geographical area during the decade of 2000–2009 were included. Daily meteorological recordings for altogether 1526 study days were reviewed from the national weather service and the association of weather conditions and fractures were analyzed.

Results

A majority (79.7%, N = 181) of the fractures occurred on dry days versus rainy days (20.3%) (P = 0.011), and risk of a fracture was 3.5-fold higher on dry days as compared with rainy days (crude OR 3.5, 3.41–3.59, P < 0.001). The weather was warm, instead of cool or hot, when the majority of the fractures (N = 147, 64.8%) occurred (P = 0.008): Warm temperatures (15–24.9 °C) increased the fracture risk 2.6-fold (crude OR 2.64, 2.59–2.70, P < 0.001), compared with cool (<15 °C) days. The fracture incidence did not change according to the wind speed (P = 0.171). The findings were similar through the school term and summer vacation.

Conclusion

Dry and warm weather conditions increase the risk of outdoor supracondylar humerus fractures in children during the time period with the absence of snow cover.

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