Acute rotator cuff tear: Do we miss the early diagnosis? A prospective study showing a high incidence of rotator cuff tears after shoulder trauma

Anne K.B. Sørensen, Klaus Bak, Annabel L. Krarup, Charlotte H. Thune, Marianne Nygaard, Uffe Jørgensen, Carsten Sloth and Søren Torp-Pedersen

The aim of this study was to evaluate the epidemiologic data of patients with an acute soft-tissue injury to the shoulder, with an emphasis on improving the early diagnosis of acute rotator cuff tears. This study included 104 patients, with a median age of 49 years. The patients were evaluated clinically and with ultrasonography at a median of 13 days after the injury. A total of 60 patients (58%) had some degree of cuff lesion on the ultrasonographic examination. Of these patients, 33 (32%) had a full-thickness rotator cuff tear, 14 (13%) had a partial-thickness cuff tear in the tendon substance, and 13 (13%) had a partial cuff tear at the insertion site on the major tubercle. The injury mechanism did not correlate with the presence of a rotator cuff lesion, but we found a strong age correlation, with a prevalence of any rotator cuff tear, above 50%, for patients aged above 50 years and with a prevalence of full-thickness tears of 50% in the groups aged 50 to 59 years and aged 60 to 69 years. The authors conclude that this study found a high incidence of rotator cuff lesions by further evaluation of patients undergoing consultation at the emergency department, with an inability to perform active abduction above 90° and normal radiographs, after an acute shoulder trauma.

Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Volume 16, Issue 2, March-April 2007, Pages 174-180

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