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This Injury a Possible Sign of Domestic Violence

Up to a third of adult women who have a particular fracture of their forearm may experience intimate partner violence, according to a new study.The findings underscore the need to screen women who experience ulna fractures for possible intimate partner violence, researchers said. This includes those who say they were injured in a fall.The ulna is the bone on the atrial side of the forearm. Fractures often occur when people raise their hands to prevent their faces from being hit by an object.

Sign of Domestic Violence
Sign of Domestic Violence

“I never correlated it with domestic violence until recently. I shared my thoughts with our orthopedic surgeons and, with their interest and support, I decided to continue the study,” said lead author Dr. Bharti Khurana, director of emergency musculoskeletal radiology at Brigham and Boston Women’s Hospital.

Researchers searched electronic records of these fractures in women aged 18 to 50 at six hospitals. They found 62 patients (mean age: 31) who had these fractures. Twelve had confirmed cases of intimate partner violence. Eight were suspected of intimate partner violence.

The results are to be presented at a virtual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, which will run through December 5.

“The radiological features we were looking at were the location of the fracture, the fracture pattern in terms of rupture and the displacement of the fracture,” said lead study author Dr. David Sing, resident in orthopedic surgery in Boston. Medical Center.

“Of all of these things, what we generally saw was a minimal displacement fracture, which means the bone is completely broken but hasn’t changed significantly,” he said in a statement. hurry.

Confirmed cases were also linked to homelessness and previous emergency room visits with musculoskeletal injuries.

All of the patients in the study who were not confirmed or suspected to be victims of intimate partner violence had fractures resulting from traffic accidents or other accidents such as crashing into a tree while skiing. Four of the eight patients suspected of being abused said they had fallen. Khurana noted that falls are more likely to result in a fracture of the radius, the other bone in the forearm.


The study found that formal screening for violence was only done in about 40% of confirmed or suspected cases.The researchers suggested that radiologists who see the fractures in their patients can tell the emergency department doctor or orthopedic surgeon that the fracture is often seen in intimate partner violence. The attending physician can then review the patient’s clinical history to see if there is anything suspicious.In the study, historical imaging analysis alone was able to raise suspicion in 75% of clinically confirmed cases of intimate partner violence.

“Careful analysis of previous imaging exams can also help radiologists confirm their suspicions of intimate partner violence,” said study co-author Dr Rahul Gujrathi, radiology researcher at Brigham Hospital. and Women’s, who noted that during COVID-19 lockdowns, the rate of intimate partner violence increased with people trapped at home with their abusers.

Research presented at meetings is generally considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is accessible at 800-799-SAFE (7233) and more information is available on its website.

: Radiological Society of North America, press release, November 30, 2020

HealthDay WebMD News – By Cara Murez HealthDay reporter

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