Readmissions, revisions, and mortality after treatment for proximal humeral fractures in three large states

Dominique I. Dabija, Hongshu Guan, Andrew Neviaser, Nitin B. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Proximal humeral fractures can be treated non-operatively or operatively with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) and arthroplasty. Our objective was to assess practice patterns for operative and non-operative treatment of proximal humeral fractures. We also report on complications, readmissions, in-hospital mortality, and need for surgery after initial treatment of proximal humeral fractures in California, Florida, and New York. Methods: The State Inpatient Databases and State Emergency Department Databases from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, were used for the states of California (2005-2011), Florida (2005-2014), and New York (2008-2014). Data on patients with proximal humeral fractures was extracted. Patients underwent non-operative or operative (ORIF or arthroplasty) treatment at baseline and were followed for at least 4 years from the index presentation. If the patient needed subsequent surgery, time to event was calculated in days, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves were plotted. Results: At the index visit, 90.3% of patients with proximal humeral fractures had non-operative treatment, 6.7% had ORIF, and 3.0% had arthroplasty. 7.6% of patients initially treated non-operatively, 6.6% initially treated with ORIF, and 7.2% initially treated with arthroplasty needed surgery during follow-up. Device complications were the primary reason for readmission in 5.3% of ORIF patients and 6.7% of arthroplasty patients (p < 0.0001). All-cause in-hospital mortality was 9.8% for patients managed non-operatively, 8.8% for ORIF, and 10.0% for arthroplasty (p = 0.003). Conclusions: A majority of patients with proximal humeral fractures underwent non-operative treatment. There was a relatively high all-cause in-hospital mortality irrespective of treatment. Given the recent debate on operative versus non-operative treatment for proximal humeral fractures, our study provides valuable information on the need for revision surgery after initial treatment. The differences in rates of revision surgery between patients treated non-operatively, with ORIF, and with arthroplasty were small in magnitude. At nine years of follow-up, ORIF had the lowest probability of needing follow-up surgery, and arthroplasty had the highest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number419
JournalBMC musculoskeletal disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 11 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthroplasty
  • Open reduction and internal fixation
  • Proximal humeral fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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