Several studies have indicated that long-term outcomes after orthopedic trauma linked to behavioral and psychosocial health factors evident in the patient’s recovery. This study aims to examine the association between 6-week post-discharge risk and the outcomes after 12 months after orthopedic trauma.

This is a prospective observational study that included 352 patients with severe orthopedic injuries at 6 US level 1 trauma centers. After six weeks of discharge, patients completed standardized measures for five risk factors (posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, tobacco use, pain intensity, and depression), and four protective factors (return to usual activity, social support, managing financial demands, and resilience).

The latent class analysis identified six different patient clusters. These clusters were collapsed into four groups, sorted from low-risk and high-protein to high-risk and low-protein. The researchers found that all outcomes had worsened across the four clinical groupings. The Bayesian analysis demonstrated that the mean Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment dysfunction scores 7.8 points between the best and second-best, 10.3 points between the second and third-best, and 18.4 points between the third and worst groups.

The study concluded that during early recovery, patients with orthopedic trauma could be categorized into clinical clusters that account for significant variance in health outcomes over a 12-month period.