This study describes the epidemiology and outcome of 637 proximal humeral fractures in 629 elderly (≥ 65 years old) patients. Most were either minimally displaced (n = 278, 44%) or two-part fractures (n = 250, 39%) that predominantly occurred in women (n = 525, 82%) after a simple fall (n = 604, 95%), who lived independently in their own home (n = 560, 88%), and one in ten sustained a concomitant fracture (n = 76, 11.9%). The rate of mortality at one year was 10%, with the only independent predictor of survival being whether the patient lived in their own home (p = 0.025). Many factors associated with the patient’s social independence significantly influenced the age and gender adjusted Constant score one year after the fracture. More than a quarter of the patients had a poor functional outcome, with those patients not living in their own home (p = 0.04), participating in recreational activities (p = 0.01), able to perform their own shopping (p < 0.001), or able to dress themselves (p = 0.02) being at a significantly increased risk of a poor outcome, which was independent of the severity of the fracture (p = 0.001).
A poor functional outcome after a proximal humeral fracture is not independently influenced by age in the elderly, and factors associated with social independence are more predictive of outcome.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:970–7.
No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.
This article was primary edited by D. Rowley and first proof edited by J. Scott.
- Received July 25, 2013.
- Accepted March 13, 2014.
- ©2014 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery