Iatrogenic humeral anatomic neck fracture after intraosseous vascular access

Alix C. Hopp, Jeremiah R. Long, Michael G. Fox, Jonathan A. Flug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intraosseous infusion has become a key tool in the resuscitation of critically ill or injured patients, both in pre-hospital settings and in emergency departments. Intraosseous access is obtained through the percutaneous placement of a needle into the medullary space of a bone, thereby allowing access into the systemic venous circulation via the medullary space, which is essential to treat patients in shock, cardiac arrest, airway compromise, or major trauma. This becomes critically important when obtaining conventional intravenous access is difficult or impossible. Few cases of iatrogenic fracture have been reported for intraosseous access in the tibia and no case to-date has been reported of iatrogenic fracture secondary to humeral access. We report a case of a 55-year-old patient being resuscitated emergently with proximal humeral intraosseous infusion for cardiac and respiratory arrest secondary to status epilepticus. After successful resuscitation and removal of the intraosseous cannula, the patient noted new-onset shoulder pain. The patient was ultimately diagnosed with an iatrogenic fracture of the anatomic neck of the humerus through the intraosseous needle tract when the appropriate history was obtained in conjunction with cross-sectional imaging. As the use of intraosseous access expands, such fractures may well be seen more frequently. Intraosseous access is limited to the period of resuscitation and the cannula is often not present at the time of imaging. It is important for radiologists to recognize the findings related to intraosseous access as well as this complication with its characteristic locations and morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1481-1485
Number of pages5
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Fracture
  • Humerus
  • Intraosseous access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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