A Cross-sectional Questionnaire-based Study of 138 Departments
The best treatment of acute Achilles tendon rupture has been discussed for decades. During the past half decade, evidence has increased in favor of nonoperative treatment and dynamic and weightbearing rehabilitation. We hypothesized that the treatment strategies would show great variation and that adherence to evidence-based recommendations would not be as good as desired. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how acute Achilles tendon rupture is treated in Scandinavia. A questionnaire was distributed to all orthopedic departments treating acute Achilles tendon ruptures in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The questionnaire was returned by 138 of 148 departments (response rate 93%). Two-way tables with Fisher's exact test were used for statistical analysis. In Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, 19 of 23 (83%), 44 of 48 (92%), 26 of 40 (65%), and 8 of 27 (30%) departments recommended surgical treatment (p <.001). Dynamic rehabilitation was used significantly less often in Denmark (5 of 23 [22%]), Norway (17 of 45 [38%]), and Sweden (11 of 40 [28%]) than in Finland (15 of 26 [58%]; p = .015). A significant difference was found among the countries in the educational level of the performing surgeons (p <.001). Surgical treatment was the treatment of choice in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish hospitals regardless of the increasing evidence favoring nonoperative treatment. Although increasing evidence has favored dynamic rehabilitation, it has gained limited use across Scandinavia. Weightbearing was used in most hospitals. Surgery was performed by junior surgeons in most hospitals across Scandinavia. Treatment algorithms showed considerable variation and often did not adhere to the clinical evidence.
Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 2013, Vol 52, Issue 5, p. 629-633