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The epidemiology of fractures of the proximal humerus


Sevenhundred and thirty proximal humeral fractures, taken from a 5-year period, were entered in this study. We found a higher total incidence rate than that previously seen: 73/100000 population. Twenty-nine percent of the patients required hospitalization; 75% of these were over 60 years old. Only 21% of these were operated on, the majority of admissions being for social reasons. A total of 583 bed-days were used each year in the Aarhus City area (250000 inhabitants). The majority of fractures resulted from falls on level ground. The elderly fell at home, while the younger people fell in public areas. Traffic accidents and work accidents were seldom seen. The accidents occurred typically around midday and before midnight, and mostly in December and January. Half of the fractures were two-part fractures of the surgical neck, while fractures of the greater tubercle and threepart fractures accounted for 21% and 17%, respectively. Based on current developments in the population average life span, it can be expected that proximal fractures will increase the hospital workload significantly in the future.

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Correspondence to T. Lind.

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Lind, T., Krøner, K. & Jensen, J. The epidemiology of fractures of the proximal humerus. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 108, 285–287 (1989).

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  • Young People
  • Level Ground
  • Average Life
  • Traffic Accident
  • Humeral Fracture