The Frequency of Mediastinal Injury in Acute Posterior Sternoclavicular Dislocations: A Multicenter Study.

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DOI: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001649


BACKGROUND: Acute posterior sternoclavicular dislocations (APSCD) are rare injuries that historically have prompted concern for injury to the great vessels and other mediastinal structures from initial trauma or subsequent treatment, resulting in the recommendation that a thoracic or vascular surgeon be present or available during operative treatment. The objectives of the study were to characterize the demographic, clinical, and radiographic characteristics of a large series of APSCDs in skeletally immature patients and to describe the rate and nature of any vascular or mediastinal complications that occurred during treatment.

METHODS: Following Institutional Review Board approval, records of consecutive patients under 25 years of age treated for APSCD were collected from each of 6 participating centers. Only acute injuries (sustained fewer than 10 days before presentation) were included. Patient demographics, injury mechanism, associated mediastinal injuries, and need for thoracic/vascular surgery were recorded. Mediastinal structures injured or compressed by mass effect were specifically characterized by review of preoperative computed tomography imaging.

RESULTS: Review identified 125 patients with a mean age of 14.7 years; 88% were male. APSCD most commonly resulted from a sporting injury (74%) followed by falls from standing height (10%) and high-energy motor vehicle trauma (10%). The most common finding on cross-sectional imaging was compression without laceration of the ipsilateral brachiocephalic vein (50%). Eleven patients had successful closed reduction, and 114 (90%) had open reduction and internal fixation, with 25 failed or unstable closed reductions preceding open treatment. There were no vascular or mediastinal injuries during reduction or fixation that required intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: In this multicenter series of 125 APSCDs no injuries to the great vessels/mediastinal structures requiring intervention were identified. Although more than half of patients had evidence of extrinsic vascular compression at the time of injury, careful open reduction of acute injuries can be safely performed. Although vascular injuries following APSCD seem to be quite rare, vascular complications can be catastrophic. Treating providers should consider these data and their own institutional resources to maximize patient safety during the treatment of APSCD.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III-therapeutic case control study.

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Journal of pediatric orthopedics





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