OBJECTIVE: Fractures occurring in hospitalized children may be an underrecognized preventable harm with implications for current and future bone health, but few data exist regarding the clinical characteristics of these pediatric patients. We describe the clinical characteristics of patients who sustained fractures during hospitalization over a 4.5-year period at a single tertiary care center.
METHODS: We retrospectively identified subjects who experienced inpatient fractures using a voluntary safety event reporting system and computer-assisted keyword search of the electronic medical record. We used the medical record to collect clinical characteristics, laboratory data, and survival status.
RESULTS: The safety event reporting system and keyword search identified 57% and 43% of subjects, respectively. Fifty-six subjects sustained 128 fractures while hospitalized, most frequently at the femur (33 fractures) and humerus (30 fractures). Twenty-seven subjects sustained multiple fractures. Common clinical characteristics included age ≤1 year (64%); preterm birth (53%); admission to an ICU (90%); immobilization (88%); and weight-for-age z score less than or equal to –2.0 (52%). Sixteen (29%) subjects died, and the mortality rate varied by primary diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Critically ill, immobilized infants under 1 year of age and who were often born preterm sustained the majority of fractures occurring during hospitalization. A voluntary reporting system was insufficient to identify all inpatient fractures. Future studies should explore optimal fracture screening strategies and the relationship among fractures, severity of illness and mortality in hospitalized children.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics