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Ultrasound-directed reduction of distal radius fractures in adults: a systematic review

Abstract

Objective To conduct a systematic review of the clinical literature to determine whether ultrasound can be used to improve the reduction of distal radius fractures in adults in the ED.

Methodology A study protocol was registered on PROSPERO. EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and ClinicalTrials.gov of the US National Library of Medicine were searched for studies evaluating ultrasound-assisted distal radial fracture reductions in comparison with standard care. The primary outcome of interest was manipulation success rates, defined as the proportion of fracture manipulations resulting in acceptable anatomical alignment, with secondary outcome being subsequent surgical intervention rates in ultrasound and standard care group of patients.

Results 248 were screened at title and abstract, and 10 studies were included for a narrative synthesis. The quality of this evidence is limited but suggests ultrasound is accurate in determining distal radius fracture reduction and may improve the quality of reduction compared with standard care. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether this affects the rate of subsequent surgical intervention or functional outcome.

Conclusion There is a lack of evidence that using ultrasound in the closed reduction of distal radius fractures benefits patients. Properly conducted randomised controlled trials with patient-orientated outcomes are crucial to investigate this technology.

  • ultrasound
  • musculo-skeletal
  • fractures and dislocations
  • emergency department management

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information

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