Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rotator cuff tears - comfort and function are unrelated to cuff integrity in asymptomatic shoulders

Prevalence of asymptomatic rotator cuff tear and their related factors in the Korean population.

These authors investigated 486 volunteers (70.4% female; mean age, 53.1; range, 20-82 years) without any shoulder symptom complaints. Background data, medical history, clinical self-assessment, and physical examination were recorded.

Cuff integrity was evaluated by ultrasound.Below are the ultrasound images of an intact cuff (a), partial tear (b), and full thickness tear (c).

Full thickness tears (FTRCT) were found in 23 subjects (4.7%) but only in those aged ≥49 years. Subjects aged 50-59, 60-69, and ≥70 years of age had FTRCT prevalence rates of 3.5%, 13.3%, and 11.1%, respectively. The prevalence of FTRCTs was higher in subjects with diabetes (P = .042) and a smoking history (P= .002), but no differences were noted for the presence of thyroid disease (P = .051).

The comfort and function of the shoulders were essentially independent of the cuff integrity (data from authors' Table V):

Comment: In this series of 486 volunteers without any shoulder complaints, the comfort and function were not affected by the integrity of the cuff. This again points to the observation that full and partial thickness cuff tears can be asymptomatic.