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. 2016 Aug;47(8):1744-9.
doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2016.05.025. Epub 2016 May 18.

Efficacy of Knee Joint Aspiration in Patients With Acute ACL Injury in the Emergency Department

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Efficacy of Knee Joint Aspiration in Patients With Acute ACL Injury in the Emergency Department

Joon Ho Wang et al. Injury. .

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate the influence of joint aspiration on the sensitivity of physical examination for diagnosing acute anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) lesion in the second outpatient-department (OPD) follow-up referred from emergency department (ED).

Methods: This retrospective study included sixty patients underwent ACL reconstruction with initial visit at ED. They were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of joint aspiration at ED. All participants were referred to second OPD follow-up within 7-14days after the injury. Clinical manifestation (including visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain, range of motion (ROM), and severity of knee effusion) and physical examination (Lachman test and pivot shift test) were checked in ED and the second OPD follow-up.

Results: The group of patients with joint aspiration (G1) showed substantial decreases in mean values of VAS for pain (p=0.005), ROM (p=0.001), and effusion level (p<0.001), even higher VAS and effusion level and lower ROM at the initial visit of ED than the other group (G2). The sensitivity of positive Lachman and pivot shift test was significantly (p<0.05) increased following knee joint aspiration. Positive Lachman test was recorded at 76.5% in the second follow-up in G1, which was significantly (p=0.047) higher than that (47.6%) in G2. The percentage of positive pivot shift test was recorded at 76.5% in the second follow-up in G1, which as significantly (p<0.001) higher than that (31.0%) in G2.

Conclusions: Knee joint aspiration in acute ACL injury with suspected hemarthrosis could be considered as a diagnostic procedure. Joint aspiration in early medical attendance might be able to lower pain scores or raise the sensitivity of physical examination for diagnosing acute ACL injury at follow up visit in orthopedic outpatient department.

Level of evidence: Retrospective cohort study III.

Keywords: Anterior cruciate ligament; Emergency department; Hemarthrosis; Physical examination. joint aspiration.

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