Epidemiological data on wrist injuries in a population can be used for planning by applying them to criteria of care and thus deriving estimates of needs for care according to currently desirable standards. In a one-year study all patients 15 years or older with acute wrist trauma and treated at the emergency room were examined according to an algorithm until a diagnosis was established. The overall incidence of wrist trauma was 69 per 10,000 inhabitants per year. Incidence of wrist trauma requiring radiographic examination was 58 per 10,000 per year. The incidence of fractures of the distal radius was 27 per 10,000 per year (males, 16 per 10,000, females, 37 per 10,000 per year). In order to evaluate the completeness (defined as the proportion of patients with wrist injuries seen at the emergency room out of all patients with wrist injuries in the catchment area) of the hospital based data an analysis was performed using data from a population based study. A completeness rate of 0.56 (95% confidence interval 0.31-0.78) was found. A radiographic examination had been performed in all patients reporting a fracture, justifying the use of fractures as an incidence measure when comparing groups of patients with a wrist trauma.
Ugeskrift for Laeger, 1994, Vol 156, Issue 19, p. 2889-92