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Work-related lesions of the supraspinatus tendon: a case–control study

  • Andreas SeidlerEmail author
  • Ulrich Bolm-Audorff
  • Gabriela Petereit-Haack
  • Elke Ball
  • Magdalena Klupp
  • Noëlle Krauss
  • Gine Elsner
Original Article

Abstract

Objectives

To examine the dose–response relationship between cumulative duration of work with highly elevated arms (work above shoulder level) as well as of manual material handling and ruptures of the supraspinatus tendon in a population-based case–control study.

Methods

In 14 radiologic practices, we recruited 483 male patients aged 25–65 with radiographically confirmed partial (n = 385) or total (n = 98) supraspinatus tears associated with shoulder pain. A total of 300 male control subjects were recruited. Data were gathered in a structured personal interview. To calculate cumulative exposure, the self-reported duration of lifting/carrying of heavy loads (>20 kg) as well as the duration of work with highly elevated arms was added up over the entire working life.

Results

The results of our study support a dose–response relationship between cumulative duration of work with highly elevated arms and symptomatic supraspinatus tendon tears. For a cumulative duration of >3,195 h work above shoulder level, the risk of a supraspinatus tendon rupture is elevated to 2.0 (95% CI 1.1–3.5), adjusted for age, region, lifting/carrying of heavy loads, handheld vibration, apparatus gymnastics/shot put/javelin/hammer throwing/wrestling, and tennis. The cumulative duration of carrying/lifting of heavy loads also yields a positive dose–response relation with disease (independent from work above shoulder level and from handheld vibration), with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.8 (95% CI 1.0–3.2) in the highest exposure category (>77 h). We find an increased risk for subjects exposed to handheld vibration with an adjusted OR of 3.2 (95% CI 1.7–5.9) in the highest exposure category (16 years or more in the job with exposure), but a clear dose–response relationship is lacking.

Conclusions

This study points to a potential etiologic role of long-term cumulative effects of work with highly elevated arms and heavy lifting/carrying on shoulder tendon disorders.

Keywords

Case–control study Shoulder tendon Work above shoulder Manual materials handling 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the following persons for their valuable contributions to this study: Mrs. Christ, Teuffel-Schilling, Weinhold, and Werner, who performed the interviews; Mr. Haase, who valuably contributed to the literature search; Drs. Bauer, Boberg, Frank, Grebe, Halbsguth, Heep, Kemmer, Ludewig, Pedrosa, Rautschka, Reimertz, Rinast, Ross, Troglauer, Trost, Sörös, Wernecke, and von Zitzewitz, who were responsible for the recruitment of study participants (cases).

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Seidler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrich Bolm-Audorff
    • 2
  • Gabriela Petereit-Haack
    • 2
  • Elke Ball
    • 3
  • Magdalena Klupp
    • 3
  • Noëlle Krauss
    • 3
  • Gine Elsner
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute and Policlinic for Occupational and Social Medicine, TU DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.RP Darmstadt, Division of Occupational HealthWiesbadenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Occupational MedicineJohann Wolfgang Goethe-UniversityFrankfurt/MainGermany

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