This pilot study was performed to describe changes in arterial flow in completely displaced neurovascularly intact Gartland III pediatric supracondylar humerus fractures using Duplex ultrasonography. This is a prospective study of 11 Gartland type III supracondylar humerus fractures with no cortical continuity but with palpable radial pulse and normal neurologic examination. Duplex ultrasonography was performed on injured and uninjured arms, both preoperatively and postpinning, and interpreted by a board-certified pediatric radiologist. Degree of artery stenosis and peak systolic velocity (PSV) of arterial flow were recorded from the duplex. Ultrasound wrist/brachial indexes (WBI) were calculated using the higher value of the radial/brachial or the ulnar/brachial index. Only three patients had normal Duplexes without stenosis and with flow comparable in the brachial, radial, and ulnar arteries of the affected arm, compared to the unaffected arm, both preoperatively and postpinning. One group of six patients had brachial artery stenosis at the fracture site when compared to the artery proximal to the fracture site, increased PSV at the fracture site compared to proximal to the fracture site, and the WBI was variable when compared to the contralateral side. A third group of two patients also had brachial artery stenosis at the fracture site but had decreased PSV and decreased WBI compared to the contralateral side. Type III supracondylar humerus patients with a normal neurovascular examination may have abnormal Duplex ultrasonography with brachial artery stenosis and elevated peak systolic velocity preoperatively although distal flow remains comparable to the contralateral side. Level of evidence: prognostic – Level II.
- Duplex ultrasonography
- Supracondylar humerus fracture
- Vascular examination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine