OBJECTIVE: Most clinical evaluations following fracture treatment focus on pure functional and radiological outcome. However, this may not appreciate the impact on quality of life (QoL). The aim of this study was to assess QoL and its improvement during the first year of postoperative recovery following fracture treatment. Design: Prospective single centre observational Study. SETTING: Trauma unit. City-Hospital.
PATIENTS: From 03/2003 to 06/2008 inclusion of 269 consecutive patients (72 years, 77% female) was possible. All were treated by ORIF with PHILOS due to isolated traumatic fractures of the proximal humerus.
INTERVENTION: Clinical follow-up examinations were performed at 6 weeks, 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Constant-Murley Score (CMS) and the Quality of Life (SF-36 questionnaire) were used to assess outcome. All results were stratified according to length of follow-up, age and fracture type.
RESULTS: CMS and SF-36, including the corresponding sub-groups Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary, demonstrated continuing improvement during the period of observation. U.S. norm values for the SF-36 were achieved after 6 months. However, speed of progress varied greatly between the scores and age groups. The fracture type significantly impacted CMS. Increasing age and complexity of fracture influenced the results negatively and cumulatively.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights and defines subjective improvements and changes of QoL up to one year after ORIF of these fractures. Increasing age and a more complex fracture type is correlated with a deceleration of functional improvement. The CMS shows a definite positive correlation with the unassisted self-evaluation of SF-36, but exchangeability could not be demonstrated.Level of Evidence: Prognostic prospective study. Level of Evidence II.