The Relation Between Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome and Trauma Severity in Patients With Distal Tibia Fracture




Background: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) syndrome is a multifactorial disorder with clinical features of neurogenic inflammation that causes hypersensitivity to pain or severe allodynia as well as blood flow problems, swelling, skin discoloration and maladaptive neuroplasticity due to vasomotor disorders. Patients with major trauma are prone to homeostasis leading to inflammatory response syndrome and multiple organ distress syndrome. Several studies have investigated the etiology of this condition, but the cause remains unknown. The role of associated factors such as the limb immobilization technique and genetics has been reported in the development of this complication, but, so far, there is no information regarding the effect of trauma severity on the risk of RSD occurrence. Objectives: Given the importance of diagnosing and treating this condition, we aimed to study the effect of trauma severity on the prevalence of RSD. Patients and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we examined patients with distal tibial fracture who visited Rasht Poursina hospital from 2010 to 2013. Exclusion criteria included associated fractures, underlying musculoskeletal diseases and mental and cognitive problems. To assess the severity of the initial injury in patients, the Hannover Fracture Scale 98 (HFS98) scoring checklist was used. The diagnosis of RSD was made on the basis of the IASP criterion. Demographic data, HFS98 scores, and information regarding RSD prevalence were analyzed using SPSS version 20. The Mann Whitney U nonparametric test was used for variables that were not normally distributed; the chi-square test was used to compare the qualitative variables. Results: Among the 488 patients, 292 (59.83%) were male. The mean age of the study population was 44 ± 9.82 years. During the 6- month follow-up, RSD occurred in 45 patients, of whom 28 (62.22%) were female and 17 (37.77%) weremale; there was thus a significant difference in the prevalence of RSD in terms of gender (P = 0.00; chi square test). The mean HFS98 score in patients without and with RSD was 3.081±4.083 and 4.080±4.622, respectively, and the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.363; Mann Whitney U test). Analyses of the eight items of HFS98 shows that local circulation in patients with RSD is significantly better than that in patients without RDS (0.683 ± 0.822 vs. 0.528 ± 0.629, respectively). Statistical analysis showed that the odds ratio for RSD for patients with HFS95 score > 0 was 1.079 (confidence interval [CI]: 0.898 - 1.333). Moreover, the odds ratio for RSD was 1.100 (CI: 795 - 1.531) in patients with an injury severity score higher than the calculated mean score in patients without RSD (> 4.083). Conclusions: The results suggest no significant relationship between the severity of injury and risk of RSD occurrence, although themean injury severity score was higher in patients with RSD than in those without RSD in this study population. The lower score of local circulation in patients with RSD than in those without RSD is a statistically significant finding and can be attributed to changes in the antioxidant levels at the injury site, which is one of themainmechanisms for the onset of RSD. Wound contamination was also justifiably higher in patients with RSD, although the difference was not statistically significant. In summary, the severity of injury alone cannot be a determining factor for predicting the probability of RSD.