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A population-based study of injuries to the brachial plexus and to the peripheral nerves of the shoulder girdle and upper limb in the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia

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The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence, identify the causes, and explore treatments of the injuries to the brachial plexus and peripheral nerves of the shoulder girdle and upper limb in the 1,220,000-inhabitant Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

We linked at the individual patient level various administrative databases using an anonymous stochastic key: list of residents, hospital discharge, emergency department, and outpatient care prescriptions database. We abstracted hospital discharge records with at least one discharge diagnosis code ICD-9-CM 953.4 (brachial plexus) or 955.0–955.9 (upper limb). For hospitalized patients, we investigated the prescriptions of ambulatory care during the following year. Emergency department visits in the month prior to hospital admission were also assessed.

From 2000 to 2015, we observed 474 hospitalizations (annual average: 61); 48% of patients received at least one prescription of outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation in the following year, accounting for more than 25,000 visits and interventions. According to emergency department data, falls were the most common mechanism among the elderly; cuts were common among the young.

This is the first population study of peripheral nerve injuries to the brachial plexus and peripheral nerves of the shoulder girdle and upper limb in Italy.

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Correspondence to Francesca Valent.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This research did not involve human participants, since only administrative anonymous data were analyzed.

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Since in this study all the analyses were conducted on anonymous administrative data, ethical committee approval was not needed and formal consent was not required in Italy.

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Valent, F., Eleopra, R., Manganotti, P. et al. A population-based study of injuries to the brachial plexus and to the peripheral nerves of the shoulder girdle and upper limb in the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia. Neurosurg Rev 41, 519–523 (2018).

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