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South Med J. 2002 May;95(5):539-41.

Can elbow extension be used as a test of clinically significant injury?

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center, 64108, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The objective of this study was to evaluate whether a simple test of full elbow extension was a reliable indicator of bone/joint injury at the elbow joint.

METHODS:

In this prospective study, patients with acute elbow injuries were asked to fully extend the injured elbow. Radiologists blinded to the results of the extension test interpreted the radiographs.

RESULTS:

Of 114 patients with acute elbow injury entered into the study, 110 underwent adiographic evaluation. Inability to extend the elbow was found in 37 of 38 patients with bone injury. Only 1 of 54 patients who were able to fully extend the elbow was found to have bone/joint injury. The sensitivity and specificity of the elbow-extension test for identification of bone/joint injury was 97% and 69%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

The elbow-extension test can be used as a sensitive clinical screening test for patients with acute elbow injuries.

PMID:
12005013
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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