Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), hemiarthroplasty (HA), and anatomic or reverse total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA/RTSA) are surgical treatment options for proximal humeral fractures (PHFx). Little is known about comparative complication rates. We aimed to determine whether ORIF for PHFx has fewer 30-day complications than HA and TSA/RTSA and to define independent risk factors for 30-day complications.
Patients who underwent ORIF, HA, or TSA/RTSA for PHFx between 2006 and 2013 were identified from the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Potential patient and surgical risk factors and 30-day postoperative complications were extracted. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted.
We identified 1791 patients (1262 ORIF, 404 HA, and 125 TSA/RTSA). The overall complication rate was 13.0% in ORIF, 22.0% in HA, and 23.2% in TSA/RTSA (P < .001), driven primarily by rates of blood transfusion. Multivariate analyses demonstrated ORIF was an independent protective factor against minor complications (P = .009) and overall complications (P = .028) but not against major complications (P = .351). Risk factors for overall complications included preoperative sepsis (P < .001), higher American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification (P < .001), dependent functional status (P = .002), transfusion of at least 5 units in the 72 hours before surgery (P = .002), longer operative time (P = .003), and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (P = .028).
After adjusting for patient factors, ORIF for PHFx remains an independent protective factor against overall complications and minor complications compared with HA and TSA/RTSA, primarily due to lower rates of blood transfusion. Patient comorbidities play a larger role than the procedure selected in predicting short-term complications.