OBJECTIVE: To determine risk factors for osteomyelitis in US military personnel with combat-related, extremity long bone (humerus, radius, and ulna) open fractures. DESIGN: Retrospective observational case-control study. SETTING: US military regional hospital in Germany and tertiary care military hospitals in the United States (2003-2009). PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-four patients with open upper extremity fractures who met diagnostic osteomyelitis criteria (medical record review verification) were classified as cases. Ninety-six patients with open upper extremity fractures who did not meet osteomyelitis diagnostic criteria were included as controls. INTERVENTION: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Multivariable odds ratios (ORs; 95% confidence interval [CI]). RESULTS: Among patients with surgical implants, osteomyelitis cases had longer time to definitive orthopaedic surgery compared with controls (median: 26 vs. 11 days; P < 0.001); however, there was no significant difference with timing of radiographic union. Being injured between 2003 and 2006, use of antibiotic beads, Gustilo-Anderson [GA] fracture classification (highest with GA-IIIb: [OR: 22.20; CI: 3.60-136.95]), and Orthopaedic Trauma Association Open Fracture Classification skin variable (highest with extensive degloving [OR: 15.61; CI: 3.25-74.86]) were independently associated with osteomyelitis risk. Initial stabilization occurring outside of the combat zone was associated with reduced risk of osteomyelitis. CONCLUSIONS: Open upper extremity fractures with severe soft-tissue damage have the highest risk of developing osteomyelitis. The associations with injuries sustained 2003-2006 and location of initial stabilization are likely from evolving trauma system recommendations and practice patterns during the timeframe. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine