Published online Nov 18, 2015. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i10.838
Peer-review started: March 2, 2015
First decision: June 18, 2015
Revised: July 16, 2015
Accepted: September 25, 2015
Article in press: September 28, 2015
Published online: November 18, 2015
AIM: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing operative vs non-operative treatment of displaced proximal humerus fractures in elderly patients.
METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed using EMBASE and MEDLINE through the OVID interface, CINAHL, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), Proquest, Web of Science, SAE digital library, and Transportation Research Board’s TRID database. Searches of conference proceedings were also conducted. All available randomized controlled trials comparing operative vs non-operative management of displaced three- and four-part proximal humerus fractures in elderly patients were included. The primary outcomes measures included physical function, pain, health related quality of life, mortality, and the re-operation rate.
RESULTS: Six randomized controlled trials (n = 287) were included. There was no statistically significant difference in function (MD = 1.72, 95%CI: -2.90-6.34, P = 0.47), as measured by the Constant score, between the operative and the non-operative treatment groups. There was no statistically significance difference in secondary outcomes of health related quality of life (standardized MD = 0.27, 95%CI: -0.05-0.59, P = 0.09), and mortality (relative risk 1.29, 95%CI: 0.50- 3.35, P = 0.60). Operative treatment had a statistically significant higher re-operation rate (relative risk 4.09, 95%CI: 1.50-11.15, P = 0.006), and statistically significant decreased pain (MD = 1.26, 95%CI: 0.02- 2.49, P = 0.05).
CONCLUSION: There is moderate quality evidence to suggest that there is no difference in functional outcomes between the two treatments. Further high quality randomized controlled trials are required to determine if certain subgroup populations benefit from surgical management.
Core tip: Our systematic review and meta-analysis found a lack of high quality evidence to determine the effects of operative vs non-operative treatment on patient-important outcomes among elderly patients with three- or four-part proximal humeral fractures. There is moderate quality evidence to suggest that there is no difference in functional outcomes between the two treatments.