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Epidemic of fractures during a period of snow and ice: has anything changed 33 years on?

Al-Azzani, Waheeb, Adam Maliq Mak, Danial, Hodgson, Paul and Williams, Rhodri 2016. Epidemic of fractures during a period of snow and ice: has anything changed 33 years on? BMJ Open 6 (9) , e010582. 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010582

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Objectives We reproduced a frequently cited study that was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 1981 assessing the extent of ‘snow-and-ice’ fractures during the winter period. Setting This study aims to provide an insight into how things have changed within the same emergency department (ED) by comparing the findings of the BMJ paper published 33 years ago with the present date. Participants As per the original study, all patients presenting to the ED with a radiological evidence of fracture during three different 4-day periods were included. The three 4-day periods included 4 days of snow-and-ice conditions and two control 4-day periods when snow and ice was not present; the first was 4 days within the same year, with a similar amount of sunshine hours, and the second was 4 days 1 calendar year later. Primary and secondary outcome measures To identify the frequency, distribution and pattern of fractures sustained in snow-and-ice conditions compared to control conditions as well as comparisons with the index study 33 years ago. Results A total of 293 patients with fractures were identified. Overall, there was a 2.20 (CI 1.7 to 3.0, p <0.01) increase in risk of fracture during snow-and-ice periods compared to control conditions. There was an increase (p <0.01) of fractures of the arm, forearm and wrist (RR 3.2 (CI 1.4 to 7.6) and 2.9 (CI 1.5 to 5.4) respectively). Conclusions While the relative risk was not of the magnitude 33 years ago, the overall number of patients presenting with a fracture during snow-and-ice conditions remains more than double compared to control conditions. This highlights the need for improved understanding of the impact of increased fracture burden on hospitals and more effective preventative measures.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: BMJ
ISSN: 20446055
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 September 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 July 2016
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 04:11

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