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Costs and outcome for serious hand and arm injuries during the first year after trauma – a prospective study

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      BackgroundTo study costs and outcome for serious hand and arm injuries during the first year after the trauma.MethodsIn patients with a Hand Injury Severity Score (HISS) > 50, DASH and EQ-5D scores as well as factors related to costs within the health care sector, costs due to lost production and total costs were evaluated. Cox-regression analysis stratifying for mechanism of injury was used to analyse return to work.ResultsThe majority of the 45 included patients (median 42 years 16–64) were men with severe (n = 9) or major (n = 36) injuries with different type of injuries (amputations n = 13; complex injuries n = 18; major nerve injuries/full house n = 13; burn injury n = 1). DASH and EQ-5D decreased and increased, respectively, significantly over time during one year. Total costs (+34%) and costs of lost production were highest for persons injured at work. Factors associated with higher health care costs were age >50 years (+52%), injury at work (+40%) and partial labour market activity (+66%). Costs of lost production had a significant role in total costs of injury. Patients with major injuries had longer duration of sick leave. Patients with severe injuries were more likely to return to work [(RR 3.76 (95% CI 1.38-10.22) from Cox regression, controlling for age, gender and presence of nerve injury].ConclusionsDespite the fact that work environments have constantly improved over the last decades, we found that hand injuries at work were most costly both in terms of health care and costs of lost production, although the severity, i.e. HISS, did not differ from injuries occurring at home or during leisure.

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      Most cited references 21

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      Development of an upper extremity outcome measure: the DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand) [corrected]. The Upper Extremity Collaborative Group (UECG)

      This paper describes the development of an evaluative outcome measure for patients with upper extremity musculoskeletal conditions. The goal is to produce a brief, self-administered measure of symptoms and functional status, with a focus on physical function, to be used by clinicians in daily practice and as a research tool. This is a joint initiative of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies (COMSS), and the Institute for Work and Health (Toronto, Ontario). Our approach is consistent with previously described strategies for scale development. In Stage 1, Item Generation, a group of methodologists and clinical experts reviewed 13 outcome measurement scales currently in use and generated a list of 821 items. In Stage 2a, Initial Item Reduction, these 821 items were reduced to 78 items using various strategies including removal of items which were generic, repetitive, not reflective of disability, or not relevant to the upper extremity or to one of the targeted concepts of symptoms and functional status. Items not highly endorsed in a survey of content experts were also eliminated. Stage 2b, Further Item Reduction, will be based on results of field testing in which patients complete the 78-item questionnaire. This field testing, which is currently underway in 20 centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia, will generate the final format and content of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire. Future work includes plans for validity and reliability testing.
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        The disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) outcome questionnaire: reliability and validity of the Swedish version evaluated in 176 patients.

        The disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) questionnaire is a self-administered region-specific outcome instrument developed to measure upper-extremity disability and symptoms. The DASH consists mainly of a 30-item disability/symptom scale. We performed cross-cultural adaptation of the DASH to Swedish, using a process that included double forward and backward translations, expert and lay review, as well as field-testing to achieve linguistic and conceptual equivalence. The Swedish version's reliability and validity were then evaluated in 176 patients with upper-extremity conditions. The patients completed the DASH and SF-12 generic health questionnaire before elective surgery or physical therapy. Internal consistency of the DASH was high (Cronbach alpha 0.96). Test-retest reliability, evaluated in a subgroup of 67 patients who completed the DASH on two occasions, with a median interval of 7 days, was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.92). Construct validity was shown by a positive correlation of DASH scores with the SF-12 scores (worse upper-extremity disability correlating with worse general health), stronger correlation with the SF-12 physical than with the mental health component, correlation of worse DASH scores with worse self-rated global health, and ability to discriminate among conditions known to differ in severity. The Swedish version of the DASH is a reliable and valid instrument that can provide a standardized measure of patient-centered outcomes in upper-extremity musculoskeletal conditions.
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          Prospective study of patients with injuries to the hand and forearm: costs, function, and general health.

          Patients with injured hands and forearms of varying severity [Hand Injury Severity Score (HISS)] were studied prospectively, including analysis of costs, hand/arm function (DASH), and health status (SF-36). Costs, duration of sick-leave, DASH-score (high score; impaired function) increased by severity of injury (higher HISS) and the greatest proportion of total costs resulted from lost production. Most employed patients returned to work within a year, but even minor injuries were expensive. HISS and costs of care during an emergency were significantly associated with duration of sick-leave, although HISS did not fully explain variation in costs and duration of sick-leave. DASH-score at one year was associated with variation in age, HISS, and residual health care costs. Results of DASH and subgroups for physical and bodily pain on SF-36 were consistent. Injuries to hand and forearm may generate high costs for society in terms of health care and long periods of sick-leave (lost production), but even minor injuries should be accounted for.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Hand Surgery, Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, S-205 02, Sweden
            [2 ]Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö – Hand Surgery, Lund University, Malmö, S-205 02, Sweden
            [3 ]The Swedish Institute for Health Economics, Lund, Sweden
            [4 ]Health Economics, Department of Clinical Sciences Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
            [5 ]Division of Occupational Therapy and Gerontology, Lund University, Malmö and Lund, Lund, Sweden
            [6 ]Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Malmö and Lund, Lund, Sweden
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BioMed Central
            24 May 2013
            : 13
            : 501
            Copyright ©2013 Rosberg et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Public health

            hand injury, hiss, dash, eq-5d, costs, health care costs, nerve injury, complex injury


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