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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2014 Jul;23(7):1052-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2013.10.001. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

The duration of symptoms does not correlate with rotator cuff tear severity or other patient-related features: a cross-sectional study of patients with atraumatic, full-thickness rotator cuff tears.

Author information

1
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, TN, USA.
2
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, TN, USA. Electronic address: j.kuhn@vanderbilt.edu.
3
Orthopaedic Institute, Sioux Falls, SD, USA.
4
Department of Orthopaedics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
5
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedics, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA.
6
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadephia, PA, USA.
7
Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic, Knoxville, TN, USA.
8
Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.
9
Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA.
10
Division of Sports Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA.
11
Division of Sports Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
12
Division of Sports Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.

Abstract

HYPOTHESIS:

The purpose of this cross-sectional study is to determine whether the duration of symptoms influences the features seen in patients with atraumatic, full-thickness rotator cuff tears. Our hypothesis is that an increasing duration of symptoms will correlate with more advanced findings of rotator cuff tear severity on magnetic resonance imaging, worse shoulder outcome scores, more pain, decreased range of motion, and less strength.

METHODS:

We enrolled 450 patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears in a prospective cohort study to assess the effectiveness of nonoperative treatment and factors predictive of success. The duration of patient symptoms was divided into 4 groups: 3 months or less, 4 to 6 months, 7 to 12 months, and greater than 12 months. Data collected at patient entry into the study included (1) demographic data, (2) history and physical examination data, (3) radiographic imaging data, and (4) validated patient-reported measures of shoulder status. Statistical analysis included a univariate analysis with the Kruskal-Wallis test and Pearson test to identify statistically significant differences in these features for different durations of symptoms.

RESULTS:

A longer duration of symptoms does not correlate with more severe rotator cuff disease. The duration of symptoms was not related to weakness, limited range of motion, tear size, fatty atrophy, or validated patient-reported outcome measures.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is only a weak relationship between the duration of symptoms and features associated with rotator cuff disease.

KEYWORDS:

Rotator cuff tear; cross-sectional study; duration of symptoms

PMID:
24411924
PMCID:
PMC4058396
DOI:
10.1016/j.jse.2013.10.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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