We investigated whether, in the management of stable paediatric fractures of the forearm, flexible casts that can be removed at home are as clinically effective, cost-effective and acceptable to both patient and parent as management using a cast conventionally removed in hospital. A single-centre randomised controlled trial was performed on 317 children with a mean age of 9.3 years (2 to 16). No significant differences were seen in the change in Childhood Health Assessment Questionnaire index score (p = 0.10) or EuroQol 5-Dimensions domain scores between the two groups one week after removal of the cast or the absolute scores at six months. There was a significantly lower overall median treatment cost in the group whose casts were removed at home (£150.88 (sem 1.90) vs £251.62 (sem 2.68); p < 0.001). No difference was seen in satisfaction between the two groups (p = 0.48).
Keywords: Cost analysis; Functional outcome; Home removable cast; Paediatric forearm fracture; RCT; Randomised controlled trial.