Purpose To evaluate long-term patency rates and related outcomes after vascular reconstruction of hypothenar hammer syndrome and identify patient- or treatment-related factors that may contribute to differences in outcome. Methods We used color flow ultrasound to determine the patency of 18 vein graft reconstructions of the ulnar artery at the wrist in 16 patients. Validated questionnaires evaluated patients' functional disability with the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score, pain with the visual analog scale, and cold intolerance with the Cold Intolerance Symptom Severity survey. Patient demographics, clinical data, and surgical factors were analyzed for association with graft failure. Patients were asked to grade the result of treatment on a scale of 0 to 10. Results Of 18 grafts, 14 (78%) were occluded at a mean of 118 months postoperatively. Patients with patent grafts had significantly less disability related to cold intolerance according to the Cold Intolerance Symptom Severity survey in addition to significantly less pain on the visual analog scale. There was no statistical difference in Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand scores between patients with patent or occluded grafts. Patients graded the result significantly higher in patent reconstructions. Conclusions We noted a higher incidence of graft occlusion than previously reported at a mean follow-up of 9.8 years, which represents a long-duration follow-up study of surgical treatment of hypothenar hammer syndrome. Despite a high percentage of occlusion, overall, patients remained satisfied with low functional disability and all would recommend surgical reconstruction. This study suggests that improved outcomes may result from patent grafts in the long term. Type of study/level of evidence Prognostic IV.
- Hypothenar hammer syndrome
- digital ischemia
- ulnar artery thrombosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine