Background: Patients undergoing dialysis have a high incidence of fracture, and early diagnosis is important. We report seven cases of closed rib or upper-limb fractures diagnosed by bedside ultrasonography during maintenance hemodialysis sessions and describe relevant clinical characteristics.
Case presentation: We identified seven patients who were injured by falls in their homes. No injuries occurred on the day of dialysis. Five of the 7 patients did not visit the emergency room. All patients complained of persistent unexplained pain during a regular hemodialysis session. Ultrasonography (US) was performed during dialysis sessions, without any reports of pain. Before US evaluation, the sensitivity of radiography for diagnosis of fracture was 25%, while the sensitivity of US was 100%. Compared with other patients in our clinic, these patients were significantly older and had lower serum albumin concentrations and lower hemodialysis efficiency as determined by Kt/V. They also had a higher incidence of diabetes and a greater need for vasopressors during dialysis. These findings were consistent with the results of previous studies of the characteristics of fractures in dialysis patients. However, blood levels of creatinine, corrected calcium, phosphate, intact parathyroid hormone, and hemoglobin, as well as bone density and blood pressure, after the previous dialysis session were not different.
Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first report of closed fracture of superficial bone diagnosed by bedside ultrasonography during a hemodialysis session. Ultrasonography is especially useful for diagnosis in these cases because it is noninvasive and highly accurate. Doctors should determine the differential diagnosis for closed fracture in patients undergoing dialysis, especially in those who are older, have diabetes, and are malnourished, and in those with recent contusions and persistent pain.
Keywords: bedside ultrasound; chronic kidney disease; closed fractures; hemodialysis.