Risk factors for 30-day postoperative complications and mortality following open reduction internal fixation of distal radius fractures

Cameron W. Schick, Daniel M. Koehler, Christopher T. Martin, Yubo Gao, Andrew J. Pugely, Apurva Shah, Brian D. Adams

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36 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify the incidence and risk factors for 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality following operative treatment of distal radius fractures in a multicenter cohort. Methods: We retrospectively queried the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database for the years 2005-2011 for cases of closed distal radius fractures treated operatively with internal fixation. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and operative characteristics were analyzed. Thirty-day postoperative complications were identified and separated into categories of major morbidity or mortality, minor morbidity, and any complication. Risk factors were identified using univariate and multivariate analyses. Results: We identified 1,673 cases of closed distal radius fractures managed with internal fixation. The overall incidence of having any early complication was 3%. Major morbidity was 2.1%, which included 4 patient deaths, and minor morbidity was 1%. The most common major morbidity was a return to the operating room (16 patients). The most common minor morbidity was urinary tract infection (6 patients). The multivariate analysis demonstrated ASA class III or IV, dependent functional status, hypertension, and myocardial infarction/congestive heart failure to be significant risk factors for any early complication. There was a 10.0% complication rate in the inpatient group and a 1.3% complication rate in the outpatient group. Conclusions: The incidence of early complications following internal fixation for closed distal radius fractures was low, especially in the outpatient group. In the setting of an isolated injury to the distal radius, the data presented here can provide prognostic information for patients during informed consent for what is considered to be an elective procedure. Surgeons should consider risk of morbidity and mortality when considering surgery for patients with noteworthy cardiopulmonary disease, increased ASA class, or poor functional status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2373-2380.e1
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014


  • Complication
  • Fixation
  • Fracture
  • Mortality
  • Postoperative


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