February 22nd, 2018 , Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

The Prevalence of Rotator Cuff Pathology in the Setting of Acute Proximal Biceps Tendon Rupture (Abstract)

Authors: Vestermark GL, Van Doren BA, Connor PM, Fleischli JE, Piasecki DP, Hamid N.


The prevalence and severity of concomitant rotator cuff pathology in the setting of proximal biceps tendon ruptures are poorly understood. Concomitant rotator cuff disease may have important implications in the prognosis and natural history of this shoulder condition. Therefore, an observational cohort of patients with an acute rupture of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHBT) was evaluated to determine the prevalence and severity of concomitant rotator cuff disease.


Thirty consecutive patients diagnosed with acute proximal biceps tendon rupture were prospectively enrolled. Magnetic resonance imaging of the affected shoulder was obtained in 27 patients and reviewed by a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon.


The cohort consisted of 20 men (74%) and 7 women (26%) (mean age, 61.0 years [range, 42-78 years]). The dominant side was involved in 20 injuries (74%), and a low-energy trauma mechanism of injury was involved in 23 (85%). Of the patients, 11 (41%) reported a history of antecedent shoulder pain. Magnetic resonance imaging assessment revealed that 93% of patients had evidence of rotator cuffdisease, including 13 full-thickness tears. Of the full-thickness tears, 3 were small, 6 medium, 2 large, and 2 massive. Pathology of the subscapularis tendon was identified in 7 patients (26%).


In this cohort, we found LHBT rupture to be highly correlated with the presence of rotator cuff disease, with the majority of patients presenting with full-thickness tears of the supraspinatus. These findings may have important implications in the treatment and prognosis of patients who present with acute LHBT ruptures.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.