09. tbl. 103. árg. 2017

Reduction of shoulder dislocation with the Cunningham method

Rétting á fremra liðhlaupi í öxl með Cunningham-aðferðinni

Introduction: The Cunningham technique has been shown to be an effective and simple method to reduce a dislocated shoulder. It is based on the theory that the humeral head remains outside the glenoid fossa due to tension in the long biceps tendon. In the beginning of 2013 doctors at the emergency department in Landspitali University Hospital (LUH) in Reykjavik were instructed in the Cunningham method for reduction of anterior dislocation without sedation. The goal of this retrospective study was to evaluate the impact of its induction with regards to number of attempts, successful relocations, sedation, use of analgesics and length of stay in the ED.

Material and methods: We searched our electronic database for patients coming to the ED in LUH in 2012 and 2013 with anterior shoulder dislocation. Information was obtained on age and gender, the ED length of stay, first to fourth attempted methods of reduction, medications given for pain relief and sedation and whether this was the first dislocation or not. We used descriptive statistics and comparing the two groups we used independent sample t-test or chi-square to calculate the p-value.

Results: During the study period, a reduction was attempted on 190 patients with a shoulder dislocation with 95% of dislocations successfully reduced in the ED. The proportion of patients on which the Cunningham method was applied on first attempt increased from 1% to 27% between years. Average number of attempts was 1.15 in the first year and 1.38 the second year (p = 0.002). The proportion of successful first attempts fell from 81.6% to 66% (p = 0.016) but successful relocation in the emergency department after all attempts was 93.1% and 97.1%, respectively (p = 0,305). The duration of treatment was similar between years or 226 and 219 minutes (p = 0,839). Sedation ratio decreased from 85.1% to 73.8% (p = 0.024) and use of analgesics was similar between years, 70.6% and 69.6% (p = 0.843).

Conclusion: Induction of the Cunningham method resulted in a significant reduction in the need for sedation. It reduced the rate of successful relocations in the first attempt and increased the number of attempts to but had no effect on the length of stay in the emergency room or the overall rate of successful relocations.


Tabel I.  Comparing age, gender and percentage of first dislocation between study groups.

Table II. Comparing ED length of stay, average number of attempts, percentage of successful reductions in first attempt and overall success rate.

Image 1. Patient positioning for attempted reduction of shoulder dislocation using the Cunningham technique.

Table III. Comparing the ratio of sedation and medication use prior to ED reduction.









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