Among patients with atraumatic rotator cuff tears, shoulder activity was not associated with severity of the tear, but was affected by patients’ age, sex and occupation, according to study results.
Researchers prospectively enrolled patients with an atraumatic rotator cuff tear on MRI in the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network shoulder study of nonoperative treatment. Patients were asked to complete a previously validated shoulder activity scale; 434 patients completed the scale and were included in the analysis. Mean patient age was 62.7 years.
The researchers performed a regression analysis to assess the association of shoulder activity level to rotator cuff tear characteristics, including tendon involvement and traction, as well as patient factors such as age, sex, smoking and occupation.
Shoulder activity was not associated with severity of the rotator cuff tear, according to the researchers. However, shoulder activity was negatively associated with age and female sex. According to the regression model, 69-year-old patients with rotator cuff tears were 1.5 points less active on the 20-point scale vs. identical 56-year-old patients; female patients were 1.6 points less active vs. similar male patients. Occupation was also a significant predictor of shoulder activity level, with unemployed patients predicted to be 4.8 points less active compared with employed patients.