Patch DavidFormer UAB Orthopaedic Surgery Research Fellow David Patch, M.D., alongside his colleagues, published “Civilian Ballistic Femoral Shaft Fractures Compared with Blunt Femur Shaft Fractures” in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma.

The purpose of their research was to compare the ballistic femoral shaft fracture results that involved closed and open femoral shaft sustained via blunt mechanisms. Researchers theorized that ballistic femoral shaft fractures would have similar outcomes to blunt open fractures.

Researchers found that the ballistic group was associated with a three-fold increase in overall complications (30%) compared to the blunt closed group (10%, p<0.001), had a higher occurrence of thigh compartment syndrome (p<0.001), and required more soft tissue reconstruction (p<0.001) than either of the blunt fracture groups.

The study included over 500 patients, 16 and older. Researchers studied 140 ballistic, 317 blunt closed, and 71 blunt open femoral shaft fractures.

Researchers conclude that ballistic femoral shaft fractures do not perfectly fit with blunt closed or open femoral fractures. A high index of suspicion for the development of thigh compartment syndrome should be maintained in ballistic femoral shaft fractures. 

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery faculty and trainees collaborated with the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Department of Translational Medicine. Study authors included:

  • David Patch, M.D.
  • Eli Levitt, M.S.
  • Nicholas Andrews
  • Alex Heatherly, M.D.
  • Henry Bonner
  • Jared Halstrom
  • Jared Watson
  • Clay Spitler, M.D.