Background: High-pressure injection injury is an injury caused by accidental injection of substances by industrial equipment. This injury may have devastating sequelae. The goal of this study was to assess the long-term outcome of high-pressure injection injury to the hand.
Methods: In this historical prospective study, patients who had previously sustained high-pressure injection injury were examined. Assessment included measurement of grip and pinch strength, range of motion, two-point discrimination, and use of a questionnaire regarding present complaints and return to the work force.
Results: Twenty-three patients were examined. Follow-up length was on average 8.5 years. The injured hand was most often (43 percent) the right dominant hand, the index in 65 percent, the thumb in 25 percent, and other locations in 10 percent. Only 43 percent of patients returned to their previous employment. Patient complaints were, in descending frequency, cold intolerance, hypersensitivity, paresthesias, constant pain, and impairment of activities of daily living. Metacarpophalangeal range of motion was decreased on average by 8.1 percent (p = 0.019), proximal interphalangeal joint range of motion was decreased by 23.9 percent (p = 0.001), and distal interphalangeal range of motion was decreased by 29.7 percent (p= 0.018). Maximum grip was decreased compared with the expected grip by 12 percent (p = 0.023). Pinch was decreased by 35 percent (p < 0.001). Two-point discrimination was increased by 49 percent (p < 0.007).
Conclusion: This study confirms the fact that high-pressure injection injury to the hand is a significant problem. Virtually all patients suffer sequelae of this injury. The injury has significant repercussions for future function and reintegration into the work force.