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1.  The foot in multistage ultra-marathon runners: experience in a cohort study of 22 participants of the Trans Europe Footrace Project with mobile MRI 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e001118.
Objectives
67 runners participated in the Trans Europe FootRace 2009 (TEFR09), a 4487 km (2789 mi) multistage ultra-marathon covering the south of Europe (Bari, Italy) to the North Cape. Reports on ultra-marathons are lacking, but the literature reports overuse injuries in athletes, especially to the Achilles tendon (AT), ankle or hind foot. Bone oedema may be related to exposure and is present in fatigue fractures. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine prospectively if sustained maximal load during an ultra-marathon leads to damage to the foot.
Design and participants
In a cohort study, repeated scanning of the 22 athletes participating in the study was performed before and during (approximately every 1000 km) the race. Using the obtained fat saturated inversion recovery sequence, two experienced readers blinded to the clinical data rated the images regarding foot lesions. Statistical analysis included regression analysis and computation of the inter-rater reliability.
Setting
The TEFR09 course. MRI scanning was performed according to prearranged schedules for every participant, using a mobile 1.5 Tesla MRI unit on a trailer following the race.
Primary outcome measures
MRI data such as AT diameter, bone or tendon lesions, subcutaneous, plantar fascia or intraosseous oedema.
Results
The 22 study participants did not differ significantly from the total of the 67 TEFR09 runners regarding height, weight and age. The AT diameter increased significantly from 6.8 to 7.8 mm as did intraosseous signal, bone lesions and subcutaneous oedema. However, finishers differed only regarding plantar aponeurosis and subcutaneous oedema from participants aborting the TEFR09. Inter-rater reliability was 0.88–0.98.
Conclusion
Under the extreme stress of the TEFR09, an increase of the AT diameter as well as bone signal are thought to be adaptive since only subcutaneous oedema and plantar fascia oedema were related to abortion of the race.
Trial registration number
University of Ulm, Germany Ethics Committee Number 78/08-UBB/se.
Article summary
Article focus
A study on effects of ultra-marathon running, in this case, the multistage Trans Europe FootRace covering a distance of 4487 km from Bari (Italy) to the North Cape.
Observational cohort study using MRI to look for possible lesions to the foot.
Key messages
During sustained maximal load, AT diameter and bone MRI short τ inversion recovery signal (hinting at subtle oedema) increases. This is thought to be adaptive.
Subcutaneous oedema and plantar fascia signal were related to abortion of the race. These measurements seem to be related to relevant changes leading to discontinuation of the run.
No relevant new foot joint or tendon lesions were detected during the race over 4487 km.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Repeated measurement prospectively during the run was possible only because of the mobile MRI unit used for this research project.
The number of included runners (22) is high compared with other MRI-based studies but may have been too small to detect less frequent lesions.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001118
PMCID: PMC3364457  PMID: 22619270
2.  Can Computer-assisted Surgery Reduce the Effective Dose for Spinal Fusion and Sacroiliac Screw Insertion? 
Background
The increasing use of fluoroscopy-based surgical procedures and the associated exposure to radiation raise questions regarding potential risks for patients and operating room personnel. Computer-assisted technologies can help to reduce the emission of radiation; the effect on the patient’s dose for the three-dimensional (3-D)-based technologies has not yet been evaluated.
Questions/purposes
We determined the effective and organ dose in dorsal spinal fusion and percutaneous transsacral screw stabilization during conventional fluoroscopy-assisted and computer-navigated procedures.
Patients and Methods
We recorded the dose and duration of radiation from fluoroscopy in 20 patients, with single vertebra fractures of the lumbar spine, who underwent posterior stabilization with and without the use of a navigation system and 20 patients with navigated percutaneous transsacral screw stabilization for sacroiliac joint injuries. For the conventional iliosacral joint operations, the duration of radiation was estimated retrospectively in two cases and further determined from the literature. Dose measurements were performed with a male phantom; the phantom was equipped with thermoluminescence dosimeters.
Results
The effective dose in conventional spine surgery using 2-D fluoroscopy was more than 12-fold greater than in navigated operations. For the sacroiliac joint, the effective dose was nearly fivefold greater for nonnavigated operations.
Conclusion
Compared with conventional fluoroscopy, the patient’s effective dose can be reduced by 3-D computer-assisted spinal and pelvic surgery.
Level of Evidence
Level II, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1393-6
PMCID: PMC2919865  PMID: 20521129

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