Emergency department management and follow-up of children with bicycle spoke injuries

J Emerg Med. 2014 Sep;47(3):259-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.04.028. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


Background: Evidence for a standard x-ray study and cast immobilization in emergency department (ED) management and follow-up of children with bicycle spoke injury (BSI) is absent.

Objective: To describe the injury pattern and outpatient follow-up and care of ED patients with BSI. In addition, patient characteristics predicting the presence of a fracture and long-term follow-up were assessed.

Methods: This was a retrospective study including BSI patients < 9 years of age. Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare groups with a fracture, soft tissue injury, and mild skin abrasion. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent predictors of a fracture and long-term outpatient follow-up.

Results: Twenty-three percent of 141 included patients had a fracture, with a median (interquartile range) follow-up of 27 (23-40) days. For soft tissue injury and mild abrasions this was 9 (6-14) and 7 (5-9) days, respectively (p < 0.001). No clinical variables could predict a fracture. Fifty-six (40%) patients required no further care after the first outpatient visit at ∼1 week. Triage category yellow and swelling were independent predictors for more than one outpatient visit, besides presence of fracture. Corrected odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 2.42 (0.99-5.88) and 4.76 (1.38-16.39), respectively. Only 12% of 141 patients had none of these predictors at ED presentation.

Conclusions: A quarter of ED patients with BSI have a fracture with no clinical signs that could predict the presence of a fracture, justifying a standard x-ray study in ED management. Only 12% of ED patients with BSI have no fracture and no signs that predict long-term follow-up. In this group, further studies are warranted to investigate the benefit of cast immobilization for fractures and soft tissue injury.

Keywords: cast immobilization; outpatient follow-up; outpatient visits; spoke injury.

MeSH terms

  • Bicycling*
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Management
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / epidemiology
  • Foot Injuries / etiology*
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Fractures, Bone / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / epidemiology
  • Lacerations / etiology
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Leg Injuries / etiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / epidemiology
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*