The Saline Load Test is Effective at Diagnosing Traumatic Arthrotomies of the Shoulder


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the fluid volume required for a saline load test to detect intra-articular involvement of the glenohumeral joint after penetrating trauma. A human cadaver study was conducted with 22 thawed, fresh-frozen forequarter amputations. A standard posterior shoulder portal was made with an 11-blade scalpel. A 19-gauge needle was inserted into the anterior portal site, and intra-articular position of both the blade and needle was confirmed with fluoroscopy. The blade was removed and normal saline was injected through the needle until extravasation of fluid was observed through the posterior portal. Injection volume required for extravasation was recorded. A logarithmic distribution of the volumes was then calculated in order to obtain estimated sensitivity ranges. Using a logarithmic distribution, 90%, 95% and 99% of simulated glenohumeral arthrotomies could be detected using injections of: 62 ml [41–96], 81 ml [50–133] and 136 ml [72–252], respectively. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 28(4):268-271, 2019) Key words: traumatic arthrotomy, shoulder, glenohumeral joint, saline load

SKU: JSOA-2019-28-4-W5 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Daniel Gittings, MD; Jonathan Dattilo, MD; George Fryhofer, MD; Anthony Martin, MD; Michael Hast, MD; and Samir Mehta, MD